Out of the Cages

Back in January I posted about some Aussie fiction I’ve wanted to read and am happy to report I’ve ticked one book from my list! *cheers*

I finished reading Penny Jaye’s Out of the Cages last week and have since struggled to form words about this confronting, heart-rending Young Adult read.

Ms Jaye is an Australian author I’ve “met” online through Omega Writers, Australia’s Christian Writers Network. I’m hoping to meet her in person at their conference in September (just needing the finances to accomplish this goal!). It would be a highlight for me to tell her, in person, how much her novel affected me.

Out of the Cages is not a typical YA read because Meena’s harrowing story of human trafficking isn’t an average tale. Despite our so-called enlightened way of living, this despicable form of slavery thrives in today’s society. It affects millions of children and young people worldwide. Developed countries like Australia and the United States still fight against this repulsive industry.

Meena’s gritty journey switches back and forth between her desperate present circumstances before being saved from an Indian brothel, and her innocent past as a twelve-year-old girl in Nepal, revealing how she ended up in the sex trade until the timelines converge.

This is not a sweet, fluffy read. It’s a raw depiction of a common outcome for many young women (and boys), with icky characters and unconscionable scenarios. As a mother of five girls, it’s the stuff of nightmares.

Ms Jaye navigated this weighty subject with grace and sensitivity. Geared towards young adults, this gripping novel omits explicit scenes, yet provides enough detail for readers to grasp the gravity of Meena’s circumstances.

After being granted her freedom, Meena made poor choices and struggled to comprehend how to live and interact in society. But it was no wonder when society still labelled her with the sins of her past… sins she never committed by choice as a teen.

No wonder many women struggle to rehabilitate after prostitution.

Out of the Cages is an emotional, eye-opening story I recommend everyone over the age of fourteen to experience.

Until next time,

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