Desert Flower by Waris Dirie & Cathleen Miller

Desert Flower

By Waris Dirie & Cathleen Miller

  • Publication Date: 2009-06-23
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 66 Ratings)

Book Summary

Waris Dirie leads a double life -- by day, she is an international supermodel and human rights ambassador for the United Nations; by night, she dreams of the simplicity of life in her native Somalia and the family she was forced to leave behind. Desert Flower, her intimate and inspiring memoir, is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered about the beauty of African life, the chaotic existence of a supermodel, or the joys of new motherhood.
Waris was born into a traditional Somali family, desert nomads who engaged in such ancient and antiquated customs as genital mutilation and arranged marriage. At twelve, she fled an arranged marriage to an old man and traveled alone across the dangerous Somali desert to Mogadishu -- the first leg of an emotional journey that would take her to London as a house servant, around the world as a fashion model, and eventually to America, where she would find peace in motherhood and humanitarian work for the U.N.

Today, as Special Ambassador for the U.N., she travels the world speaking out against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation, promoting women's reproductive rights, and educating people about the Africa she fled -- but still deeply loves.

Desert Flower will be published simultaneously in eleven languages throughout the world and is currently being produced as a feature film by Rocket Pictures UK.

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Book Opinions

  • Fascinating book!

    By Rozebramay
    Although this book was written quite a while ago, it remains a powerful and relevant story for our time. Africa remains a place of turmoil, religiously motivated wars, and clashes between the traditional and the modern. On a personal level, African people are caught in a ruthless power struggle between ideologies, resulting in deaths of pastoral tribes, captivity, slavery and rape of large numbers of women, and the conscription and indoctrination of young boys into a life of violence and hatred to carry on the destructive amassing of territory and power in the name of Allah or a ruthless warlord. Waris' story quickly became a page-turner for me. The unlikely path, the twists and turns, and her responses to them are truly hard to believe. And her ability to hold up under the dangers and strains, in both the world of her childhood, the western 'civilized' world of Europe and the West, and then the world stage, is admirable, if not always graceful. I was struck by her ability to listen to her intuition, and to take action on it. It was in many ways uncanny, but totally consistent with other stories of tribal peoples who grew up, and survived, living close to nature. There is a 'knowing,' a premonition, a clairvoyance that we can tune into if we listen carefully. Waris learned to do this as a very young child living a nomadic life, and remained attuned regardless of her environment. Perhaps the two most important themes in this book are making people aware of the horrors of female circumcision, or FGM, and maintaining a perspective on what is truly important in life, with gratitude and thoughtful priorities in place. When you read this book, I believe that you will come to clearer understanding of the hardships people around world face, how resilient the human spirit and body are, and how blessed people who live in Western cultures truly are.
  • Simply Outstanding!

    By MeMaJoMy
    The bravery of this character and the honesty portrayed in this story was powerful.
  • Desert Rosr

    By Fatema Alkaabi
    Touching story with a happy ending
  • Desert flower

    By TAZFAN1285
    Very touching & insperational
  • My Opi

    By Consta ance
    Great story!!. My sister advised me to watched the movie. After watching it, I needed to know more details of Waris life and FGM. It's truly sad. I hope a lot has changed since 1998 in the African communities regarding this outrageous and dangerous practice. Waris has done a great and honorable deed! Thank you!!
  • Phenomenal

    By Cher Love
    This book has touch me like no other. As an African American women, whose family originated from the slave trade, but grew up here in a much different way, I can't tell you how much I appreciate these words. There is so much that we take for granted in the states and so much to be thankful for. So thank you Waris for opening my eyes and letting me go through this adventure with you.