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Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave Hardcover – January 21, 2014
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Chapter One opens with,"Everyone has a defining moment in his or her life. For some it is the day they get married or have a child. For others it comes when they reach a sought-after goal. My life, however, drastically changed course the day my parent's sold me into slavery. I was 8 years old." Thus begins the heartrending account of the narrator; from being an 8 year old girl, living with her family and nine siblings in the slums of Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt to ending up as a child-slave in Orange County, USA. Shyima was sold by her parents to a wealthy Egyptian family as restitution of a bogus debt of honor to repay an alleged theft by her older sister (Zahra), while working for these people. Shyima's indentured bondage lasted four years; she spent 2 years in Cairo, Egypt and two more in California, after being illegally smuggled into the USA by her "owners". During her captivity she lived under harrowing conditions; working from dawn to late night, fed once a day on the family's leftovers and regularly abused verbally and physically for the least infraction. Her sleeping quarters were a bare walled rat and insect infested garage with no heat. This only begins to describe her tragedy =No spoilers here=.
Shyima was eventually rescued and her abusers punished with prison and deportation. The bulk of the book is about her psychological, emotional and educational rehabilitation with the help of social services and foster care system, culminating in her becoming a US citizen.Read more ›
This book was compelling to read and very, very hard and raw. I found myself being sad, horrified and disgusted, all the while I also felt myself rooting for her, at first quietly and then out loud and its rare that a book actually has me "talking back to it".
While the actual story is the main storytelling in the book, I found myself looking for subtext - and there were many - for instance how "everything would turn out if only she could get to the other side of this horrific situation", yet, when we read about Shyima's attempts at fitting in to the "regular world" we see that things are not quite as perfect as she thought (hoped) they would be.
I also felt so sad when reading her letters to her captors - what a nightmare situation.
This book is also about hope and about believing that you can turn any situation as a learning one.
I really enjoyed this book but was surprised that it was directed at YA. I would say that this is a must read for YA and adults.
The book begins with Shyima’s younger years in Egypt, her family plagued with financial difficulties. While the author doesn’t excuse her parents handing her over to work for another family, the book does show the reader why they probably felt they had no other choice. Kept as a slave, eight-year-old Shyima tolerated substandard living arrangements, received no education, and had no time for herself. It was work day and night. She kept track of time passed by the birthdays of her owners’ children.
When her owners decided to move to the United States, they went to a lot of trouble to make sure Shyima joined them. Shyima’s life of slavery continued over here, until someone dropped an anonymous tip about the suspicious girl to the police. Now free, Shyima’s struggles didn’t end. She faced court trials, foster family drama, and the struggle of trying to find her place in a very different culture. But in the end, you can see that she’s happy and optimistic about life and eager to educate the American public about the modern-day slave trafficking problem.
Hidden Girl is a great book, taking its reader through a whole range of emotions. Cowriter Lisa Wysocky did an excellent job keeping a very foreign and little girlish voice to the narrative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As much as I understand what happened to Shyima and as much as I feel horrible for what happened to her, this book is full of fabricated faux details to spice it up for American... Read morePublished 10 days ago by ZE
It really was. This book made me want to not stop reading. It was so interesting the way she described how her life was and what she went through every single day. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Giuliana
Excellent for older children and adults. A fast read and a heartfelt story.
Shyima's story is quite telling and addresses a challenging and urgent issue,
modern day... Read more
Could not find the mental abuse sufficient enough to carry with her so longPublished 4 months ago by KAREN EVANS
Ms Hall told her story in a honest and straight forward manner. Slavery does so must damage,the year seem not to matter.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book that I chose to read was Hidden Girl by Shyima Hall. I chose this book for an assignment in my English class as we, the students in that class, would have to write a... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tim Graham
I thought this was a great, eye opening book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys biographies or wants to know more about human trafficking.Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer