It was a particularly tragic story because her mother tried very hard to get her off the streets, she spent a couple of years driving around looking for her daughter and trying to help her whenever she could.
For some reason I still think about this book, and what strikes me most is how does a seemingly normal suburban 14 year old girl end up becoming a prostitute?
I grew up in the Suburbs and I did know one girl in high school who became a prostitute. She came from a seemingly normal home. She lived in a nice big suburban house, had a beautiful bedroom, dressed in really nice clothes, had loads of money all the time. There was a dark side though. Her father abused her. We never knew until one day she came to school after being absent for a day or two. We asked her what was wrong, was she sick? She said she had been in hospital due to a head injury caused by her father kicking her in the head. We were stunned. No one knew what to say. What was worse, she told us with a grin on her face as though it was nothing. In fact I think she said it was nothing, that he had done worse before. We never talked about it again.
She was addicted to cigarettes, hash and weed at 15. Then by 16 she had moved on to cocaine. Then after high school it was heroin, and then she became a prostitute to support the habit. I don't really know any of the details, we didn't stay in touch. Though I did run into her once when she was dressed up in a skin tight red dress and bright red shiny stilletto shoes. She was totally out of it and didn't even remember who I was, even though we had eaten lunch together every day for two years in high school.
I've often thought that prostitutes usually come from abusive backgrounds. But while that might often be the case, there is still a high percentage of normal kids from all different backgrounds who are simply attracted to the glamour and excitement that the city nightlife has to offer. In Kristy's case, we are not led to believe that this girl had suffered any kind of abuse.
Her mother claims to have found a diary written by her daughter that hints that her daughter was sexually active by the time she was 13. The only disfunctional aspect of Kristy's life is the fact that her parents divorced when she was a kid and that her mother re-married. Her mother claims that Kristy and the step-father got along great and that she loved him like he was her own father.
I don't actually remember what Kristy's relationship was like with her father. I don't know if she even had one, or if he was even alive by the time she was a teenager. The book really didn't go into a lot of detail over the reasons why she became a prostitute and a drug addict.
They just say that she used to hang out in arcades in downtown Toronto (arcades do tend to be quite seedy and I do remember seeing a lot of creepy men in arcades in downtown Montreal, especially since arcades usually have areas where you can watch peepshows) and that she had a crush on a black guy she used to see there. Apparently he used to smile at her and they kind of flirted. Then one day he started to talk to her and they spent a couple of hours together hanging out. She was supposed to be meeting a friend at the mall, but her friend was late and so she kept going back and forth between the arcade and the mall until eventually she gave up on her friend and just spent the rest of the day with the guy.
When it was time for her to go home, he pressured her into hanging out with him longer. He really put the moves on her and made her feel wanted and liked so she stayed longer. Then she tried to go home, and he was really pushy about staying with him. Eventually he suggested that she go out and turn some tricks for him. She apparently said no, and walked away. He followed her and pushed and pushed, until she finally said yes. She went and stood on some corner and got picked up and turned her first trick. Then she turned several more tricks throughout the night, until 3 a.m or something. I can't remember.
Then she got picked up by the police, who found a large box of condoms in her purse. After that, for the rest of the book she remains a prostitute, uses cocaine and then in the end dies of a heroin overdose in a stairwell of some building after she had supposedly gotten straight and stopped the prostitution.
I suppose at the end of the day it doesn't really matter why she became a prostitute. The story was quite interesting, learning about her mom who was so worried and upset about her. That she was crying so much for her daughter that she had to get a special cream for her face because the tears were irritating her skin. Throughout the story it was very evident that Kristy and her mom had a very strong relationship.
I just can't help but wonder what we are missing from the story. I read an autobiography called Cupcake Brown about a woman who is now a lawyer in the States but when she was a young girl her mom died and she ended up in foster care, then became a prostitute, a drug addict, a gang member etc. The whole story was quite unbelievable, and a lot of things didn't add up. I did question it a bit. But if you read the reviews on Amazon you'll see that many people have really analyzed this and believe that she embellished the truth quite significantly.
In the story of Kristy, I don't think that anything was exaggerated. There are probably many details that are missing, as there were many people who were involved in her life and I doubt that everyone who knew her came forward and provided details of exactly what happened to her. So there will always be a lot of mystery surrounding this tragic story.