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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
I very much support books on this topic, I think it is great that there are writers willing to dive into such a dark world for the sake of informing people about this epidemic of cruelty and greed. For anyone who has never read a book about human trafficking I encourage you to buy this and read it. It is full of stories based on what really happens every single day to women and children. You wont quickly forget it. The rest of my review is written more for people who tend to collect books on this subject. I am planning on working with organizations helping to prevent human trafficking so I have read quite a few of these!

For the rest of you still reading who are looking for a realistic book on this dark subject, I'm sorry but you wont find it here.
I applaud the authors efforts but the last 3rd of the book left me completely baffled.
(SPOILER WARNING) Through the whole book the main character is told she is being tested and prepared to be one of many wives to the guy who is in charge of the whole seedy operation. Towards the end of the book the author seems to have completely leaped into unrealistic optimism. None of the characters that you grow to like in the book have an unfortunate end (sorry not to be cruel its not like I want them to die, but in that setting its just unrealistic) When she is finally moved away from the brothel to the wives harem, it becomes this weird almost Esther like journey, where the guy is really looking for someone who will be more than just a sex slave and will challenge him. It got more unbelievable as you go on, she falls in love with the mans son who gives some flimsy excuses for his helping to steal young girls and allowing them to be raped. (forgiveness, sure... Romance? NO) Then the main character (who is in a story based on human trafficking) a beyond belief beautiful woman.... never gets raped even though she spends many nights with evil incarnate himself. Then takes down the whole operation and moves into a readily available mansion to wait for the "love of her life" to get out of jail. Again I don't approve of her being treated poorly but if your going to write a book on this subject, please commit to it. Stop giving people a reason to hold on to the silly belief that any of these girls can just up and help themselves out of this situation. There are lots of ways to end the book on a positive note without making it so completely impossible. I like walking away from a book like this with new ideas on how to help these girls myself, "More than rice" did not do that. The only help they received was from someone who put themselves in a very dangerous situation without actually doing much. I would instead recommend Sold by Patricia McCormick or Priceless by Tom Davis. Both are excellent and offer a frank and realistic look into human trafficking with positive and again realistic endings, as well as ways to get involved for both the humanitarian and homemaker.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2012
I wrote a review a few minutes ago, but not sure what happened to it, so I'm reposting.

I wanted to like this book, but ended up completely irritated by it for a number of reasons.

First, the writing is horrendous. It goes from first person to third person narrative, sometimes within the same paragraph, and the grammatical and spelling errors were a complete distraction. I believe it is self-published, and clearly no editor was involved. I'm not overly picky about grammar, but if you're going to sell a book, you should at least be a little up on basic writing mechanics beyond, say, fourth grade. Sorry to sound snarky, but it was quite bad.

Second, this book starts off OK from a plot development standpoint, but goes so far downhill and off the path that the author ends up doing a great disservice to human rights advocates who are truly trying to spread awareness and fight human trafficking. For example, one young girl who is being prostituted ends up being courted by her very kind john, and is then bought and taken to freedom, living happily ever after. Really?! This is not only unrealistic, it encourages the belief that there is hope for trafficked girls if they just meet a nice john or pimp.

Also, the main character falls in love with her captor's son (spoiler alert), who is, incidentally, also one of her captors for most of the book. He professes his love, then the ring is busted and he becomes somewhat of a martyr in jail. In the meantime, the son's mother, also a captor/captive, inherits a huge estate, and the main character ends up living happily ever after in it. Incidentally, the main character is also so beautiful and clever that she is never sexually assaulted ... she is being saved for special purposes. Again, really?!

While I don't doubt the author's passion, I do think this is a poorly written, badly executed book on a very important topic. I do not recommend it. There are many books on the subject that delve into the topic of human trafficking from a more informed, reliable perspective, and do so with skill. Awareness is the key to ending human trafficking, and there is quite a bit to learn, just not from "More than Rice."
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
Ordinarily, I wouldn't write one of these. But today on twitter, I happened to Retweet someone's link, the link was to a photo and a phone number for a missing 14 year old girl. Not 5 minutes later, the author of this book proceeded to follow me, her profile on twitter is basically an advertisement for this book. Very very skeevy, using a missing child to SELL YOUR BOOK.

I question anyone who uses a missing kid to promote sales for their private venture. It's a missing kid, not your personal billboard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
Some read to be entertained, some to be enlightened. There is food for thought for both groups in Pamala Kennedy Chestnut's fictionalized book, More Than Rice--"journey through the underworld of human trafficking," to quote her subtitle.

Gabriela Mendoza, a beautiful young girl, is kidnapped from a Manila street corner, leaving her large, poor family presumably in despair. Before they can even inform the police that she's missing, she's on a ship bound, she will later find, to Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, she is kept in a brothel with numerous "girls"--the word is accurate, since some are barely in their teens. There the reader is exposed to dramatic scenes of degradation and dehumanization by the brutal men who run the brothel and want only to keep the women drugged and compliant until their economic usefulness is over.

Gabriela is protected, in a sense, because she is destined for the sinister Mr. Saku, the Hong Kong based ruler of this underworld kingdom. He keeps a harem of seven beautiful women, whom he replaces at his whim. His guard, Leo, is assigned to keep Gabriela safe from the other men while she is forced to work as a cook, kitchen maid and cleaner for the captive girls, as part of the strange preparation on Leo's "list."

Out of her own despair, Gabriela determines to get to know the girls, although they are forbidden from talking or even using their own names. Dehumanized, they are identified in the brothel only by numbers.

Gabriela makes two particular friends: the Indian girl Kirima, who is obsessed with reclaiming her infant daughter and the abused Chinese girl Maylin. Even though Gabriela is helped by Darcy, an older Irishwoman who is in nominal charge of the girls, Leo explains to her that even if she could achieve her dream of freeing the girls, they would still have no way but prostitution to earn their living. Reluctantly, Gabriela sees his point.

So Gabriela, Darcy, Maylin and Kirima make it their business to teach the other girls what basic skills they know: respectively sewing, cooking, literacy and self-defense. In the midst of their teaching, Darcy escapes taking Kirima with her after Gabriela, in an act of self-sacrifice, turns down the opportunity.

Soon, however, the plot thickens with the introduction of new characters. Leo takes Gabriela to Hong Kong, for her second round of preparation before she is introduced to Saku. There she meets the composed, gracious Lynn, who in spite of her kindness serves Saku's brutal desires. And there Leo for the first time tells Gabriela his secret--or at least one of them...Drum roll, please. The author is bent on creating a happy ending, as if life could only be this simple.

While the writing is rather amateurish at times, and the plot, especially the ending, seems the stuff that fairy tales are made of, Gabriela's repeated reversals of fortune do not blunt the powerful message that Chestnut conveys. Possibly the fictional treatment makes the harsh lessons about human trafficking go down more smoothly. The author includes lists of facts, reading materials, and actions that we can all use to eliminate this brutal trade.

by Susan Branch - For a complete review go to the Joplin Independent online.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
The writing style of this novel is childish at best. The plot is obvious and the characters are tragically predictable. All in all,  this book does not do the horror of the topic justice. Very disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
I want my money back and the 2 hours of my life I wasted reading this nonsense. This book is a poorly written work of fiction. It is fiction so unrealistic that it would be laughable if not for the serious subject matter. I felt like I had picked up a book for children written in some sort of parallel universe where I would let my child read about rape and sexual slavery. Human trafficking is a human rights violation so heinous it requires a delicate and sincere voice. Women and children are being abducted and sold against there will. There is nothing "feel good" about it regardless of the annoying and thinly veiled Christian agenda present throughout the book. The reader is expected to believe a roomful of traumatized girls who don't speak the same language can not only have nightly gab sessions but also learn to read from the only book available, the bible. Give me a break. The main character was unlikable, the plot was ludicrous and I just wanted it to end. Don't get me started on the love story angle. Really??? It's a book about exploitation not a romance novel. Don't waste your time here. There are plenty of good non-fiction books on this terrible subject.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
I read this book non-stop because I could not put it down. Honestly, I did not know if I would be able to 'get in' to a book on such a dark topic, but it is beautifully written, with great character development, turns and twists, and a surprise outcome.
It begins with the abduction of Gabriela, a young, beautiful Filipino teenager, on her way home from work. You follow her through the abduction, the drugging, the humiliation and transfer via cargo ship to Malaysia where her family have no hope of finding her. You are drawn into the world of these young girls who are the innocent victims of human greed, but it is an inspiring tale, and one that will motivate YOU to want to do something to make a difference. Without being 'preachy', Ms. Chestnut gives us a beautifully written moral tale, while at the same time awakening us to the reality of the magnitude of modern sex trafficking. The victims are real (one is captured every 30 seconds) and the tale is a somewhat sanitized but accurate version of what these young children are forced to endure. Anyone concerned about the suffering of children around the world whose bodies and lives are bought and sold should read this book first. The Appendix gives practical answers to 'what you can do' to make a difference. It is a short, easy read. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2010
More Than Rice is a journey into the dark underworld of human trafficking. Gabriella,the heroine, finds courage and compassion that she didn't know she possessed while in the tent room barracks. Through the darkness and ugliness of the brothel the young women begin to find their true worth and build friendships, develop skills, and the seeds of hope are planted that one day the will be rescued. I dare not reveal the ending - your will have to read it for yourself! More Than Rice will move you to take action; you can longer sit by and do nothing while 30 million people worldwide are victims of modern day slavery. Read at your own risk!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2012
I wrote a review of this book at the Average Advocate- [...]

Here is a part of it: "I was expecting it to be very serious, in-depth, with a high volume of intrigue. Instead, I would classify it as a young adult novel for older teenage girls. Gabriela is a model heroiene to connect with, while the story gives a glimpse into what life is like for a victim of human trafficking, many who are also teenage girls..."

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2013
Poorly written novel about an important subject. I gave up after just a few chapters deciding it was not worth my time.
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