Reviewed – The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam


The Road of Lost Innocence is the story not only about a little Cambodian girl but also of those thousands of other girls who are sold into the prostitution profession each day around the world.

The author, Somaly Mam, when still young was sold into prostitution by the grandfather she lived with who not only cheated her but also made her pay for his debts by getting her raped by a village man. She was forced to spend many years of her life living in hell in myriads of brothels amidst barbarians. She was however, determined enough to escape the damnable life with a motive to help girls and rescue girls in the profession. With this aim she started AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Situations), an organization that rescues girls from brothels, conducts medical treatments, educates them and provides a much better life to start with. Her courage to help these enslaved little girls and women, facing all the odds, despite having no education herself and with everything that she has gone through, is exemplary and worth a salute.

Saying that I had nightmares for weeks after reading this book would be a bleak understatement! It is not hard to imagine things happening to you, when you learn what women your age, and many mostly younger than you are enduring in one part of the world or most parts of the world, for that matter.

For once, I hated my friend here to have me read this book. At one point, I broke down and that was more often. I read it in one sitting only to see how much torture and agony life can bestow on one being. Sadly, there is no limit to it.

Well, it’s reality in its crudest form and not all have the heart to take it. While I was totally disgusted to come face-to-face with such heart-shattering truths, I couldn’t stop but admire this woman immensely who has had the courage to bring the real picture aface with the world. Not many can do that!

Firstly, I never knew where exactly Cambodia is based on the map. The opening lines of this book present stunning facts and pointedly I wanted to check where this little not-much-known of a country belongs. Apparently, Cambodia is the 70th most populous country of the world, a fact I’d never have known had I not picked this book. Explains a lot of things mentioned in this book by the author.

The book takes you through roads and shacks and brothels and from one city to another all leading nowhere but prostitution, monstrous rapes, crying bleeding girls, abuses and beatings and it starts all over again.
Her experiences that she elaborates through the pages of the book are not only godawful but horrendous to an extent that gets your skin crawling at the descriptions. You cannot stop wondering how cruel can a human-being get! But that’s as far as you reach, because there is no end to it.

The book is written with such sensitivity and simplicity that it gets the readers dive deep into the book as you feel her pain and suffering as your own.

That you will be sad and depressed and then you’ll sob and cry is an understatement too. For the book has a lot of deeply rooted sentiments that cannot be expressed but only felt while reading it. But at the end, you’ll feel proud for this lady for making it big; step by step, and piece by piece. I am now officially supporting this foundation. You may do so too. Learn more on

Lastly, something that I take away from this book is,

“What you have learned from experience is worth much more than gold. If you have a house it may burn down. Any kind of possession can be lost, but your experience is yours forever. Keep it and find a way to use it.”

A must read by all. Not suggested to little girls/boys however since it can have real depressing effects on young minds.

If you happen to read it or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.

The Unread Book©


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