Dime by E. R. FrankDime by E. R. Frank


byE. R. Frank

Paperback | May 31, 2016

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The startling realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called “a piercing, unforgettable novel” and Kirkus Reviews deemed “a work of sublime humanity.”

As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets—a daddy and two “wifeys.” So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.

Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn’t realize it was happening until it was too late.

But when a new “wifey” joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn’t love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?
Title:DimeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.9 inPublished:May 31, 2016Publisher:415231986Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481431617

ISBN - 13:9781481431613


Read from the Book

Dime Chapter One WHEN I FIRST understood what I was going to do, I expected to write the note as Lollipop. But in the six weeks since then, I’ve had to face facts. Lollipop has lived in front of one screen or another her whole life, possesses the vocabulary of a four-year-old, can’t read, and thinks a cheeseburger and a new pair of glitter panties are things to get excited about. Using her is just a poor idea. Back in August, Daddy assigned Lollipop to me, saying, You school her. I must have been doing a good job hiding my insides from him, or he wouldn’t have. L.A. was still the only one of us who was allowed to touch the money. If she found out, it would be the second time she’d learn about Daddy asking me to hold coins. Which would only make things worse than they already were. Lollipop didn’t know the difference between a twenty and a one. “What’s that?” She held out her hands, nails trimmed neatly and painted little-girl pink. She was polite, even if she was stupid. “May I touch it, please?” “Nobody touches the money but Daddy.” “Listen to you,” Brandy said from the couch where she was dabbing Polysporin on the cut over her eye that was taking so long to heal. “Cat gave back your tongue?” “You’re touching the money now,” Lollipop said. She leaned her head in close to get the best look she could. Then she sniffed. At the one first. Then the twenty. “It stinks.” “Stop,” I told her. “Money is dirty. You don’t know where it’s been. Don’t put your nose on it.” Brandy grunted. “That there the funniest thing I heard all week.” She didn’t sound amused. I pointed. “That’s a two.” I pointed again. “That’s a zero. That’s twenty.” “I know that says twenty.” Lollipop pretended to be offended. She was obviously lying. “What’s that one?” “A one next to a zero is ten. You didn’t even learn any of this from TV?” “They have numbers on Sesame Street all the time,” Lollipop said. “And Little Einsteins. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. They have it on a bunch of stuff. So I know them, but I never paid attention to what’s more. Only I know a hundred is a lot and a thousand is even more than that. A thousand keeps me pretty in pink.” “Do you know letters?” I asked. Lollipop nodded. “Yeah,” she said. “TV and Uncle Ray taught me those.” Brandy grunted again. “I bet he did.” “Do you know how to read?” “Some signs.” Lollipop scrunched up her face, thinking. “Exit.” I waited. “Ladies. Um. Ice.” I waited some more. “Maybe that’s all the signs I know. But I can read two books.” That didn’t seem likely. “Which ones?” “ ‘In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon . . .’ ” Some kind of a hiss or a gasp or the sound of a punctured lung came out of Brandy. “ ‘. . . and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon.’ ” Brandy flew off the couch as much as anybody still limping can and smacked Lollipop so hard that Lollipop fell, a perfect handprint seeping onto her cheek. She didn’t cry out a sound. Not a whimper, not a squeak. She just got still, like a statue knocked over. You have to respect an eleven-year-old who gets smacked like that for no good reason and keeps quiet. That Uncle Ray trained her well. “Brandy!” I stepped between the two of them. Brandy wasn’t weak, but this. This was a whole side of her I never knew existed. Her face was twisted up again the way it had been the other day with Daddy, only now it was beat up from him, fat lip and bruised eyes. “What was that?” Brandy asked Lollipop. Her cut seeped blood right through the shiny Polysporin. “What was that?” Lollipop answered as plain as she could manage. She didn’t move any part of herself but her mouth. “Goodnight Moon.” “Get off the floor.” “Brandy.” Those flames that were lit in my belly the day we took Lollipop rose up, flaring. Was Brandy going to turn vicious now, on top of everything with Daddy? But Lollipop was standing, calm as anything. “Don’t you ever say those words again.” Brandy smacked Lollipop’s other cheek. Lollipop went down. This time tears oozed like rain dribbling down a wall. “Daddy’s going to kill you,” I told Brandy. Even saying Daddy made me want to slide through the floor and die, but there was nowhere to slide to and no way to die, so somehow I just kept on. Brandy slipped around the corner to the alcove where my sleeping bag was. I heard her zipping into it. L.A.’s going to kill you! I wanted to shout, but the cat took back my tongue again. Anyway, probably Daddy was getting home before L.A., who was doing an outcall. So Daddy would get to Brandy first. I hauled Lollipop up and propped her on the couch. I made sure the bills we had been studying were in my back pocket. Then I wrapped ice in a paper towel and held it to both sides of her face. She had white features and good, light-brown hair. Her skin was the color of wet sand. Mostly she seemed white, but with that color, it was confusing. She was prettier than the rest of us. Baby-faced. “What’s the other book you know?” I asked her. “Whisper.” I didn’t want Brandy hearing anything else that might make her charge back out here. But it had been a long time since anybody could talk to me about any kind of book. “ ‘Be still,’ ” Lollipop whispered. “It’s monsters. There’s more, but I can’t remember it right now.” Somebody who smelled like barbecue potato chips used to cuddle me on her lap and read to me. I didn’t remember the reader; just that salty, smoky scent and something scratchy on my left shoulder every time a page was turned. I remembered the books, though: Goodnight Moon and The Snowy Day. “ ‘A wild ruckus,’ ” Lollipop tried. “Rumpus.” I used to love Where the Wild Things Are.

Editorial Reviews

"Riveting, eye-opening and poignant, Dime is an unnervingly real portrait of life on the streets. It's a world where pimps use charm, cunning and violence to exert gradual - then total - control over vulnerable girls. Until Dime, a girl nearly broken by her situation, somehow finds an exit. If not for herself, at least before it's too late for someone even more defenseless than she is. Unforgettable."