Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Contemporary | Young Adult
What do you do if you're in trouble?
When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options.
Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels.
But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition.
This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.
Don't be fooled! LITTLE PEACH might have a cute title, an attractive cover, and what appears to be a short novel running at only 208 pages. It's FAR from being an easy read though. LITTLE PEACH will challenge you emotionally and it is most definitely a trying book to read. Why? Because the theme is about child prostitution, drug use, and sexual assault among other things.
Michelle left home when she was 14 because her mother is an addict and couldn't care less about her welfare. Meanwhile her mother's boyfriend has ill intentions towards her and instead of protecting her daughter, she instead told Michelle to stay away from her yucky druggie boyfriend. Michelle then set out for New York, hoping to be reunited with her friend and leave her old life behind. Unfortunately Michelle's friend only gave her half an address and they never met. With no means to locate her friend, Michelle befriended a nice stranger who offered her food, clothing and shelter. Turns out, her "savior" is a pimp, and soon enough Michelle find herself drugged, raped, drunk, and carted off to some place as a prostitute.
It's a frustrating situation to say the least. Here is a girl who only wanted something better for herself and instead of being rewarded for managing to escape a horrid life; having the sense that she's WORTH more and DESERVES more and going after it instead of waiting for some savior; she found herself in worse sitation. I am so enraged by the injustice, and yet the saddest part is Michelle's story is one of many.
Despite her unfortunate circumstace I liked that Michelle wasn't painted as a victim even if she obviously was. Desperate, yes, but she never lost her fire, innocence, light, and drive throughout this phase in her life. And though the theme is harrowing and will definitely force anybody to grow up and harden beyond their years, Peggy Kern managed to keep Michelle's teenage voice. I love that paradox because it gave me a small sense of hope that Michelle will get out of this situation alive and will have a chance at something better for herself. Well barely.
I had to stop and digest some of the scenes that PKern wrote in LITTLE PEACH. Not because its graphic, but because of its raw intensity. Though the horrors of Michelle's life were implied instead of presented in detail, I was still unable to escape the imagery and the feelings this novel imparted. LITTLE PEACH is a very haunting novel, it has an open ending but it didn't diminish the power of Michelle's story. It's provocative and will get any reader thinking, and even doing something impactful to change the current system.
Thank you, Peggy Kern, for shedding a much needed light to a broken system and an ongoing tragedy. Hopefully your novel will strike a match and change at least one Michelle out there.
Bloggy Friends Reviews