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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 May 2017
Great book, fascinating life story and written very well. It had a little bit of everything, adventure, ambition, travel, risk taking, sad times, happy times, poverty, prosperity. It's become my go to book to loan to people looking for an interesting read, i can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 22 June 2017
Yes, very much so. Thank you
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on 10 November 2002
I don't think it matters that this book is not "world-class" literature.
Waris Dirie has a wonderful story, full of hardship, striving, and pain. But due to her continual striving, she has made a success of her life, in spite of the odds.
Her experiences meant something to me. One of the most vivid was the description of her circumcision in the bush.
This is an inspiring book, showing what can be accomplished with fortitude and a positive attitude.
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on 14 June 2010
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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on 7 January 2004
This was an amazing story of courage in the face of adversity. Reading about the hardships Waris has been through had me in tears but she is an inspiration to all women.
Eveyone should read a book like this, it makes you realise how lucky you are and apreciate what you have got.
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on 2 April 2001
This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. It was sad, funny, exciting and above all inspirational. This lady is courageous, fiesty and no matter how bad her life got she retained a sense of humour throughout. I couldn't compare this book to any other as her life story is unique. No matter what type of book you are used to reading, this one will never be forgotton once devoured.
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on 23 July 2017
I read this book many years ago but it has always stayed with me. Waris has an amazing story from growing up as a nomad in Somalia to becoming a super model, but it is her story of FGM that needs to be heard. I hope that the more that people read about stories like hers that changes will be made and one day this barbaric tradition can be stopped
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on 9 November 2004
I loved this book! I was given an option to read any cultural book in my class and my teacher had shown us this and talked about it briefly. When I went to pick a book, this one stuck in my head and I'm glad it did. The things she has endured are incredible. I really liked how powerful she was and how hard she worked to get what she wanted. It's amazing how far she has come and is now fighting to help those young girls that she used to be like. I'm glad someone is fighting against FGM because when I heard about it I was terribly shocked and confused about why people would actually do this. This was one of the best books I've read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It truly is a blessing that someone has gone through this and leads such a successful life as hers.
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on 2 July 2007
I might have seen Waris Dirie in many magazines over the years, advertising make-up or clothes, a stunning supermodel. Flicking through those pages without a second thought, really shows how many times we can be fooled by appearances. There's a story beyond any of us and who would have thought that that lovely, proud African lady had such an incredible, painful one to recount.

This is a difficult book to read, not because of its prose, but for its contents, especially the ones related to the female genital circumcision. What Waris had to endure and her accomplishments in life later on, after her escape from native Somalia, are something quite amazing. She is currently an Ambassador for the UN, focusing on the fight against FGC in Africa and in the Western World.

This is a book that will often make you stare into space, trying to come to terms with the reality that Waris describes. It is not, however, written in hatred or spite. The love for her native country and for her family is there, so strong, despite everything. This book is an eye-opener and an educational one, as well as an autobiography.
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on 29 August 2004
When a story like this is read a whole new view of a certain culture, practice or even religion can be taken. As I read this book I not only understood but also began to feel strongly against the notions of the tale. Warris a very fortunate woman of today, openly exposed her culture and also condemned it through her organisation and exposure.
Although I have not written a long review due to my strong view of the book, I would recommend it to anyone who does not have a facts about the customs of the Nomads, which is bitterly soaked in religion. And from there a judgement can be made, which I believe may be diverse from mine.
I salute you Warris for giving people like me insight on the ways of man (humans), and for allowing yourself to courageously criticize it and make change for the best.
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