Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself-Rachel Lloyd
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Author's organization website
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 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.
Girls Like Us is a book that isn't easy to read, but it should be read. I'm not going to lie-this is book features disturbing behavior and people that I'd love to find and kick the crap out of. Even though it's non-fiction, it reads like a novel, as Rachel Lloyd talks about her own experiences as an abused person, and the experiences of the girls she meets. It's dark, depressing and effing frustrating to read at times, and I wish I could reach through the pages and give the author and these girls a hug, or at the very least, lend an ear during their time of need.
This book would have been compelling for me if the author was merely illustrating her experiences with the girls she's met through her work, but that she's been through it herself brings an entirely new layer to the book. She understands the hell these girls have been through, because she's been there herself.
There are wonderful moments in Girls Like Us. Rachel turned her life around, and some of the women she's worked with have done the same. She's committed her life to a cause that is so worthy and inspiring that I have to tip my (imaginary) hat to her.
Girls Like Us is a bold, brave book and I feel like a better person for having read it.