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Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of…
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Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad (original 1998; edition 2011)

by Waris Dirie (Author)

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1,2042912,378 (3.78)10
Desert Flower is the compelling autobiography of supermodel Waris Dirie, born into a traditional Somali family of nomads who believed in such archaic customs as female genital mutilation and arranged marriages between prepubescent girls and elderly men, for a dowry of a few goats and camels. The young Waris survived exploitation, attempted rape, and casual violence as she tenaciously fought her way as far as London, where she took a job as a maid for a distant uncle. There, as she struggled to learn to read and write, her striking beauty caught the eye of a photographer, and soon she had launched a modeling career that would take her all the way to New York City and international celebrity. Today, as a special ambassador appointed by the United Nations, she travels the world speaking out against female genital mutilation, promoting the cause of women's rights, and educating people about the war-torn, drought-parched region of Africa she fled - but still loves deeply.… (more)
Member:Tania57
Title:Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey of a Desert Nomad
Authors:Waris Dirie (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2011), 242 pages
Collections:Your library
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Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad by Waris Dirie (1998)

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» See also 10 mentions

English (17)  Dutch (6)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Disappointingly light for a subject as serious as Female Genital Mutilation. I was glad to learn that modern Western surgery can ameliorate the results of this barbaric, inhumane practice and make it easy to pee freely. It might have been nice if Waris had mentioned that rehabbing her vagina was helpful when she gave birth, but she was far more interested in revisiting the excitement of a modeling career than discussing her surgery. Interesting, but not enough to hold onto this book. ( )
  KaterinaBead | Nov 26, 2018 |
Moving memior that touched on social and cultural issues of Africa, such as nomads, subsistance living, female circumcision, and immigration from a country torn apart by war. ( )
  tmscott13 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Amazing book about such a beautiful strong women, would highly recommend! ( )
  Rachel_Sanders | Jan 4, 2016 |
Angus and Robertson Top 100 (2006-2008) Book #100
This autobiography was very enjoyable to read. It contained some very tragic elements, but I believe that it is a book that everyone should read. It provides a direct insight into the treatment of women and young girls in Africa. ( )
  amme_mr | May 5, 2015 |
This is the story of a Somali nomad girl who becomes a famous international model. After learning at age 12 that her father wants to marry her to a 60-year-old man in exchange for five camels, Waris (meaning 'desert flower') runs away from home. She makes it to London, working as a servant-girl for her uncle, the ambassador. Later she is discovered, and goes on to work as a top model and a UN spokeswoman on women's rights in Africa.

This autobiography delves into Waris's childhood as part of a nomadic tribe living off what they could find in the desert. It also describes her horrific circumcision at the age of five and the ongoing legacy of that ordeal. It is an inspiring story, made all the more sad by the fact that the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is still be carried out on little girls, without anesthetic, leaving them with a lifetime of pain and discomfort. Shocking!

'I had to learn new survival skills for this new world, which were different from the ones I was raised with in the desert. Here I needed to learn English, and how to communicate with all sorts of people. Knowing about camels and goats wasn't going to keep me alive in London' (p. 123).

'The health problems I've coped with since my circumcision also plague millions of girls and women throughout the world. Because of a ritual of ignorance, most of the women on the continent of Africa live their lives in pain. Who is going to help the women in the desert - like my mother - with no money and now power? Somebody must speak out for the little girl with no voice' (p. 225). ( )
  DebbieMcCauley | Aug 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dirie, Warisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cathleen MillerAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed

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Ullstein (35912)
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For Mama
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Ein leises Geräusch weckte mich.
A slight sound woke me, and when I opened my eyes, I was staring into the face of a lion.
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Desert Flower is the compelling autobiography of supermodel Waris Dirie, born into a traditional Somali family of nomads who believed in such archaic customs as female genital mutilation and arranged marriages between prepubescent girls and elderly men, for a dowry of a few goats and camels. The young Waris survived exploitation, attempted rape, and casual violence as she tenaciously fought her way as far as London, where she took a job as a maid for a distant uncle. There, as she struggled to learn to read and write, her striking beauty caught the eye of a photographer, and soon she had launched a modeling career that would take her all the way to New York City and international celebrity. Today, as a special ambassador appointed by the United Nations, she travels the world speaking out against female genital mutilation, promoting the cause of women's rights, and educating people about the war-torn, drought-parched region of Africa she fled - but still loves deeply.

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