Author: Bina Shah
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
Publisher: Westland Books
Year: Nov 2010
Blurb: Laila, a young Pakistani Christian girl, lives in Karachi s poorest quarter, Issa Colony. The grim circumstances of Laila's life are counter-balanced by her energy, vitality and determination to survive. Nine-year-old Laila is spirited and intelligent. She lives in a slum but she is happy: she's got plenty of friends to play with, and is well looked after by her beloved elder sister, Jumana, while her mother works as a maid for rich families across town.
But when Jumana contracts TB, their mother cannot afford the medicines that would save her life. Following Jumana's lingering, painful death, and her mother s emotional collapse, Laila discovers that her feckless stepfather is planning to sell her into prostitution to pay his gambling debts. Running away is her only option.
Finding help from unexpected quarters, Laila makes her way to one of the families her mother worked for, and is taken into their household as a servant. There she finds unimaginable luxury, but also great unhappiness within this privileged family. At first Laila s gift for making friends serves her well, but then disaster strikes, and Laila must flee again. But where is she running, and to whom? How can she hide from the terrible violence that threatens her? And how can she hope to find love, affection, and the chance at a normal life? Slum Child is the story of a girl forced to run alone, strong and courageous, to a future that cannot deny her happiness.
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