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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable life of an incredible lady, 14 Jun 2010
This review is from: Desert Flower (Paperback)
The great strength of this fascinating autobiography is the enormous juxtaposition between Waris Dirie's childhood and her later life. Surely few - if any - other people have undergone such a dramatic change in their culture and lifestyle in such a short space of time. From herding livestock as part of a nomadic community in the remote Somalian wilderness to strutting on the catwalks of Milan, London and New York in just a few short years. The journey from one way of life to the other was certainly not smooth, relied on plenty of luck and trusting to fate and was spurred by the prospect of forced marriage to an elderly man when she was just 13.

The most disturbing part of the story is Waris' circumcision (or, female genital mutilation) and the particularly harsh and painful manner in which she underwent the procedure. It's something that becomes a theme throughout the book as she reflects on it throughout her adult life with sadness and - particularly - bitterness at how it has denied her of her right to happiness in such a profound manner.

I have no interest in the lifestyle of a model per se, but this is a fascinating account of a girl who seized the initiative to change her life in a way beyond the wildest imaginings of most people.
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