Top critical review
A must read - especially for teenage girls and those who care for them
on 23 March 2013
Initially I'd have to say that I didn't read this book for leisure. It had been recommended at an event about Child Sexual Exploitation that I attended, related to some voluntary work, where I realised how ignorant I was and felt I needed to know more. It is Emma's account of going from innocent teen to a sex slave and really highlights the grooming process and the reasons why it is sometimes so difficult for parents/ others on the outside to detect and act upon.
As such I'd say its strength is as an educational text rather than a memoir, and while I feel the content is important to understand, I'm not sure that this one account really justified a whole book of more than 250 pages. In fact, just expanding the Epilogue and publishing that alone alongside accounts from a number of other victims would, I believe, have been more powerful. Clearly this is partly because Emma Jackson is not a writer - this is a very personal account and it's clear that she found writing it down was a cathartic experience. That she was then able to share it has great value but I suppose deep down I'm concerned that there may have been a different form of exploitation here - what is undoubtedly a shocking topic was bound to sell copies and I suspect Jackson would not have been the only person to profit from this.
While I reflected on my teenage self as I read this I was still shocked by the naivety displayed that allowed Emma to get into the situation that she did but equally, I know the type of "teen rebellion" that I believe played a huge part, is very common but hopefully doesn't have such drastic consequences for most. I think, however, that this makes it a must read, particularly for teenage girls and those who care for them - it helps to understand the risks and warning signs, as well as highlighting the need for extensive support to victims over a long period if necessary. I hope that it will allow others to make informed choices but also boost awareness of the issue so that the aid, that I feel is severely lacking, becomes more freely available.