Friday, September 20, 2013

This Is No Ordinary Joy

Title:  This is No Ordinary Joy
Author:  Sarah Symons
Publication Information:  Wallsend Press. 2013. 250 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "People are using many different approaches to deal with poverty, with slavery, and with human rights abuses all over the world, and I'm so glad of that. We need all hands on deck and many different ideas to solve the major problems in this world. For my part, I'm glad to be taking the approach of empowering women, through jobs and education, to solve their own problems and build their own wonderful lives."

In her own words, Sarah Symons is "a regular, opinionated, slightly frazzled mother of two trying to make a difference in a complex global problem." She is also the founder of Made By Survivors - an organization that seeks to empower survivors of the human trafficking trade by providing them a means to become economically independent.

In 2002, Sarah Symons attended the Tribeca Film Festival as one of her songs was used in one of the movies. At the festival, she saw the movie The Day My God Died, a documentary about the sex trafficking trade in Nepal and India. It affected her to a degree that she contacted and began volunteering for one of the organizations mentioned in the movie. Her work involved trips to that region where she met and worked with volunteers and survivors.

It was on one of her trips that the idea of selling survivor made goods began. The idea was to provide a market for these goods in the United States and beyond and enable economic independence for these survivors. The work continues today. This book tells the story of Sarah Symons' journey and her work.

I have a great deal of respect for all those working to resolve this global issue. However, this book was difficult for me to read. It appears to have a dichotomy between descriptions of Ms. Symons' work and descriptions of her personal experience on her trips. The stories of the survivors are heart wrenching and chilling. The stories of the work being done to help these women are educational and inspirational. The personal snippets of whether or not to pack flip flops, lost luggage, gastric distress, and getting her period seem trivial in comparison. They serve as a jarring and distracting note in the book.

Regardless of my reaction to the book, I have bookmarked the website (Made By Survivors) and will likely order the beautiful items they sell.

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