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Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Riveting. . . . [Lloyd’s] passionate, persuasive arguments for recognition and protection give a voice to the thousands of girls all around us who work and suffer in near invisibility.” (Corrie Pikul, Elle)

“Fascinating and moving.” (Marie Claire)

“Heartbreaking. . . . But the book is also at times funny, bawdy, and optimistic, as is Lloyd herself.” (Jennie Yabroff, Daily Beast)

“Rachel Lloyd’s astonishing stories of life on the street have an accumulative power that left me reeling. What makes Girls Like Us such an extraordinary achievement is that her storytelling is unflinchingly honest, and yet filled with a sense of promise, filled with a profound sense of hope.” (Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River)

“This book will burn a hole in your heart. The beauty of Rachel Lloyd’s searing memoir is how she exorcises the pain of her own troubled girlhood by connecting with hundreds of young women on a brutal path.” (Mira Nair, director of Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala, and The Namesake)

“With empathy and intellect, Rachel Lloyd brings to light the heart-breaking stories of these lost, forgotten, and abused girls. Her own life story is a source of inspiration and hope. She is an important new voice of conscience to which America needs to pay attention.” (Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO, Harlem Children's Zone)

“Rachel Lloyd’s memoir should be mandatory reading for every cop, prosecutor, judge, and ‘john’, but also every mainstream American who thinks racism, classism, and misogyny don’t exist.” (Sarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassadorSarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassadorSarah Jones, Tony Award-winning playwright/performer and UNICEF GoodwillAmbassado)

“Girls Like Us is a life-changing book, in every sense of the word. Rachel Lloyd changed her life in order to help change the lives of thousands of others—read her incredibly powerful story, and your life will be changed too.” (Janice Erlbaum, author of Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir and Have You Found Her: A Memoir)

“Girls Like Us is a powerful and eloquent recounting of the lives of children and young women caught up in the ravages of sexual exploitation….[It] offers valuable insights into understanding the complex emotional and economic factors that contribute to the exploitation of children and youth.” (Richard J. Estes, Professor of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania)

From the Back Cover

A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape "the life"

At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, struggling to survive as a child with no responsible adults to support her. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. It took time and incredible resilience, but ?nally, with the help of a local church community, she broke free of her pimp and her past.

Three years later, Lloyd arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit—GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services—to meet the needs of other girls with her history. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today Lloyd is executive director of GEMS in New York City and has turned it into one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations.

In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark, secretive world of her past in stunning cinematic detail. And, with great humanity, she lovingly shares the stories of the girls whose lives she has helped—small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061582050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061582059
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joan A. Adamak VINE VOICE on March 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What is the difference between a teenage prostitute and a commercial sexually exploited teenage girl? You will learn this when you read this book by an author who has been there, done that, suffered through it and yet managed to turn her life around. Thereafter she established an organization in New York called GEMS, acronym for Girls Educational and Mentoring Service, a safe house for commercially sexually exploited teenage girls.

The author, Rachel, was the daughter of an unstable, poor mother and Robert, a man who may or may not have been her father, but who physically abused both her mother and her, finally abandoning them. Unable to face his desertion, Rachel's mother, already a drunk became immobilized in liquor and depression, totally ignoring Rachel as there was no room in her life from then on for her daughter. Rachel was glad the man was gone for he beat on her often. Rachel spent little or no time at home, meeting her needs through shoplifting and running with her peers. However, in Rachel's earlier years, her mother had been loving and took care of her. This gave Rachel a foundation when she was out of her teens to straighten out her own life and become what she now is.

However, when thirteen, needing and seeking love and protection, she fell into the same trap that other teenage girls, ages generally from twelve to eighteen do. She met a suave man who took her to dinner, spoke softly and gently to her, made her believe he cared about her and then took her to his room and introduced her to sex.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Girls Like Us is a book that is at times tragic, poignant, even funny - but always incredibly powerful. It should be required reading for everyone. Through the author's willingness to be utterly transparent, we are shown a world in which young girls are denied the opportunity to be children; where grown men participate in and profit from the commercial sexual exploitation of thousands of little girls. It's a world where minors are prosecuted as adults for crimes of which they are the real victim, and the people they should be able to count on to protect them are quite often the very ones who destroy them.
Our culture has an incredibly twisted view of the "sex industry". In Girls Like Us we read about girls like Sienna, who is beaten and left for dead by the side of the road by a man who "purchased" her for sex - and in the hospital she is put in a room with a Little Mermaid curtain, because that's standard in a child's room. And Sienna is a child.
There were times, while reading this book, that I almost felt overwhelmed and completely discouraged. Times when I had to stop reading because I was crying so hard. But Rachel Lloyd never gives up, and through her writing we eventually feel the same sense of empowerment - the sense of the incredible potential of these girls. The message is clear: if this tragic exploitation is ever going to stop, we have to stand up and do something. And she gives us tools and ideas for action that anyone can accomplish. Simply knowing it is happening makes us responsible to do whatever we can to help these children who so desperately need love and understanding and safety.
I really can't say enough about the importance of this subject. It is very disturbing and completely heartbreaking, but Ms. Lloyd manages with grace and courage to open our eyes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hesitated to read this book because I am a survivor of sex abuse and the mother of a small child. I feared that the book might send me into depression. Amazingly, Ms. Lloyd's story provokes not only disgust, rage, and sadness, but also hope. Thank you, Ms. Lloyd, for your dedication to these girls.
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Format: Hardcover
Girls Like Us is both the best memoir and the best general introduction about commercial sexual exploitation of children ever written. Despite being a ground-breaking exploration of the darkest corner of our society, Girls Like Us is filled with hope, entertaining insight, and humor. It is really great -- an Erin Brockovitch for the new decade.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I received this book as a sample to read through Amazon Vine Voice. In Girls Like Us, Rachel LLoyd doesn't just write a memoir, she writes an expose about the child sexploitation "industry." Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the sex industry - Family, Pimp, Johns, Recruitment, etc, and tells it from the point of view of her girls and her own experience. This book is an educational tool that would be great for college classes in trauma, child pscyhology, social work, or any other mental health or social injustice field. It gives people a different perspective on the topic. By the end of the book, the reader understands that there are many socio-economic and familial factors that affect the paths that people take. Unfortunately, in Girls Like Us, young girls have serious adult decisions to make and are manipulated into making them. I will be honest: This is a heavy topic. It's like reading an unedited, uncensored episode of Law & Order: SVU. It's a great book and worth reading, but you must take your time.
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