|Book review: Somebody’s Daughter, by Phonse Jessome (Amazon)
A journalistic account of prostitution and trafficking out of Nova Scotia in the early ’90s, mostly centered on underage cases. The author tells detailed stories about how several of the women fell into prostitution and horribly damaging and senseless relationships with pimps, and these personal elements made a strong impact. The subject matter is compelling if confounding, how could these young women, even from difficult backgrounds, get involved in this industry that makes zero economic sense for them and brings with it so much neverending awfulness? The author made a good effort to explore some of this reasoning and provide context in the cases as to why the women made some of the choices they did, and I liked that aspect of the reporting.
In general, it’s interesting and moves quickly so it’s a fast read, but in the sections of personal narratives I got a little bored reading the step by step progression of a scene in excruciating detail, including uncomfortably dated dialogue and too much straightforward description that didn’t add much to the scene or story. And in the sections where the author relates statistics, the police task force working to rehabilitate the women and prosecute the traffickers/pimps, their trials, and basic information about the industry itself, it felt way too dry and just a tiny bit preachy.
And since it was originally published in 1996, some of the content and dialogue feels dated. Would have been interesting to read some kind of update on how the book’s events relate to the current situation in the same area. Interesting and important concept nonetheless, and I learned things, which is always worthwhile.
Somebody’s Daughter: Inside an International Prostitution Ring by Phonse Jessome