This is Moth Renwick’s story, a twelve year trying to survive life in the slums of Manhattan in the 1870’s, who must decide to be, or not to be, a whore. Abandoned by her father, and sold to an abusive mistress by her mother, she escapes her tormented life as a lady’s maid and ends up sleeping on the street and learning how to steal to survive. Picked up by a whore-in-training, she is recruited by a madam who rescues young street girls and grooms them to become reputable young virgins to be sold to the highest bidder.
Although the storyline is interesting, and I do sympathize with the horrors experienced by the poor street children of that era, on a literary level, I found the action a bit slow in some parts. The fictitious posts and poems scattered throughout disrupted the flow of the story and often weren’t connected to what was happening.
Overall, I found Moth’s character likeable and courageous, and if I didn’t agree with her decisions, I reminded myself that she was only a twelve-year taking adult decisions.
Ami McKay is a splendid storyteller. The Virgin Cure, although not as compelling as her previous work, is certainly a terrific read.
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