Somehow, Patricia makes the heavy subject of sexual slavery both approachable and manageable. Whereas many of my heavier books on women’s rights or international affairs sit dormant in my classroom library, Sold has made it through many hands. I believe there are multiple reasons for this: first, Sold isn’t intimidating in length or size. It feels manageable for many students. Second, Sold is written in short vignettes with wide spacing between the lines. Students can find themselves ten or twenty pages into the book with minimal effort.
Furthermore, the book lends itself to close reading and craft study. Each vignette is chock full of exceptional writing as Patricia McCormick plays with diction, descriptions, repetition, and a wide variety of craft marks. In turn, I can’t pick only one example, so bear with me as I walk you through two of the many passages with which I am obsessed:
Everyday, students walk into my classroom burdened by mammoth backpacks and equally sized worries. It’s tough to be a teenager, which is why I love the vignette “What I Carry.” I hope to use this as a quickwrite to find out what students carry with them throughout the
WHAT I CARRY
Inside the bundle Ama packed for me are:
the notebook my teacher gave me for being the number one
girl in school,
and my bedroll.
Inside my head I carry
my baby goat,
my baby brother,
my ama’s face,
our family’s future.
My bundle is light.
My burden is heavy.
In the second passage, “Between Twilights,” I love McCormick’s use of sensory details. This is an excellent passage to model the concept of “show don’t tell” in writing.
Sometimes, between the twilights.
I unwrap my bundle from home
and bury my face in the fabric of my old skirt.
I inhale deeply,
drinking in the scent of mountain sunshine,
a warmth that smells of freshly turned soil and clean laundry
baking in the sun.
I breathe in a cool Himalayan breeze,
and the woodsy tang of a cooking fire,
a smell that crackles with the promise of warm tea
and fresh roti.
Then I can get by.
Until the next twilight.