When Barbara Amaya was eleven, she ran away from her suburban Virginia home, where she had been sexually assaulted by both her father and her brother. Her early teen years soon became a nightmare of prostitution, drug addiction, jail time, and dependence on a series of sex traffickers. In Nobody’s Girl, she does an excellent job of capturing how naturally these events follow from one to another, making it easy to trace how she went from a runaway teen to a prostitute relying on an abusive pimp, as each turn builds upon the previous ones. Though written in past tense, her narration style keeps the story in the moment rather than looking back at events, so it reads like a good novel and builds suspense about how this young girl might escape her situation.
The story remains interesting when it covers more recent developments, such as Amaya’s efforts to have a relationship with her parents and her experiences raising a daughter. Telling her story makes Amaya’s current advocacy efforts on behalf of victims even more powerful, and the book is as readable as it is valuable.
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