Title: My Book of Life by Angel
Author: Martine Leavitt
Teen Reviewer: Shannon Finney
Rating: 4/5 Stars
My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt is a realistic story told from the point of view of a young girl of the Vancouver streets. After her bad habit of shoplifting gets her kicked out of her home by her father, Angel moves in with Call, an older man who makes her feel grown up, and introduces her to new substances that she becomes addicted to. Without fully realizing it, Angel is turned into a prostitute under Call’s control, and loses all hope of ever returning to her former life. It is not until Call brings home a new girl, a very young and innocent one, that Angel has something to fight for – someone that she can save. Angel, the protagonist that almost all teenage girls can relate to, whose thoughts remain innocent and pure despite her circumstances, tells her extremely moving and inspiring story about holding on to what’s right even when things could not be more wrong.
Written in free-verse poetry, the terse lines of My Book of Life by Angel capture the voice of the troubled teenager and give the reader a new perspective on the struggles of the women subjected to violent sexual experiences and exploitation under the control of their pimps. Though not sexually explicit, Angel’s story does contain some unsettling language that Leavitt uses to convey a completely realistic message about what young women of the sex trade go through. Although the message is heart-wrenching, eye-opening and intense, the poetry makes it simple and easy to read. I would recommend this book to young women and men who want to learn more about the terrors of prostitution that are prevalent around the world, and the girls who become victims of the sex trade.