Jabali Smith’s memoir, Slave, features a beautiful message that demonstrates how everyone can overcome darkness in their lives. This book is relevant today because millions of people are suffering from child abuse and human trafficking. It shows that experiencing child abuse can lead to multiple feelings of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-loathing. Despite this, Jabali proves that the journey of self-discovery can help anyone achieve love, compassion and forgiveness. If you’re interested in stories that describe a process of transformation, Slave is the perfect book for you.
The story focuses on Jabali Smith, a six-year old boy from Berkeley, California, who was trafficked, along with his brother and sister, into Mexico, by a messianic doomsday sex cult. This cult, known as the “Om Lovers”, was filled with sexual predators who constantly starved, tortured and violated Jabali throughout his childhood.
It was heartbreaking to read many scenes of Jabali being abused by the cruel and dangerous cult leader. Instead of growing up in a positive environment, he was brainwashed into believing that the cult leader was God. You will feel for him as he expresses his wish to be loved by someone. Many scenes were difficult to read through because he did not deserve to be treated like a slave. The memoir opens with beautiful descriptions of Jabali enjoying his childhood with his family and friends in Berkeley before his abduction occurred. During the abusive scenes, you will feel his pain when he expresses how he wishes to be back in Berkeley, where people loved him.
Jabali’s voice is engaging and will make you root for him as he goes on a journey towards happiness and success after escaping the sex cult. One of the most remarkable qualities about him is his fearlessness: “I saw that fear and pain had paralyzed me. I began to fully comprehend that the decisions I made about myself as a child had crippled me as an adult. I wanted desperately to transform, to become a better man, a better human being, to crush my self-limiting beliefs. I decided that in order to achieve these goals, I would have to face my fears.”. This scene is powerful because it demonstrates how he was not going to allow his traumatic past to define his future. Jabali displays courageous and inspirational qualities in his adulthood when he decides to make a list of goals for himself in order to better his life. You will be proud of him for standing up to the people that made his childhood painful. Reading about Jabali’s transformation into becoming a brave, self-assured man is one of the main reasons why you will keep turning the page in his memoir.
Justin Coloyan is a blogger for CSUITEMUSIC.
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