Desert Dawn

Desert Dawn

3.81 (2,002 ratings by Goodreads)
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Fashion model, UN ambassador and courageous spirit, Waris Dirie is a remarkable woman, born into a traditional family of tribal desert nomads in Somalia. She told her story - enduring, at five years old, the ancient and savage custom of female circumcision; running away at twelve on foot through the desert in order to escape an arranged marriage; being discovered by Terence Donovan as she worked as a cleaner in London; and becoming a top fashion model - in her book, the worldwide bestseller, Desert Flower. Although Waris Dirie fled her homeland, she never forgot the country and culture that moulded her. The world of famine and violence, where women have no voice and no place - the very world that nearly destroyed her also gave her the tools to survive. She traces the roots of her courage, resilience and humour back to her motherland, and most particularly to her mother. Desert Dawn is the story of that return and a testimony to the stubborn fact that you can love something dearly and yet not love all that it represents. Desert Dawn is about coming more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 18mm | 222.26g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Virago Press Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • Section: 4, colour
  • 1844080080
  • 9781844080083
  • 16,771

Review quote

This is the moving story of a dislocated woman trying to find her roots. An inspiring read. U MAGAZINE Waris Dirie was a victim once, but she never will be again. She is still fighting, still using her beauty and courage to take what she has learned to try and put things right SUNDAY EXPRESS Recounting a life beyond imagination for most of us, this is a courageous and awe-inspiring book. Remarkable. MARIE CLAIRE An eye-opening read. GLAMOURshow more

About Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie is an internationally renowned model. In 1997 she was appointed by the UN as special ambassador for women's rights in Africa, in its efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation. She lives in Wales with her son and is an active campaigner for the Red more

Review Text

Don't be put off by the cover, or the supermodel tag. Waris Dirie and co-writer Jeanne D'Haem know how to tell a story. And what a story it is. Born into a family of desert nomads in Somalia, the 12-year-old Waris ran away to escape an arranged marriage and wound up working as a cleaner in London. Then, in a classic rags-to-riches tale, she was 'discovered' by Terence Donovan and catapulted to supermodel status, becoming the internationally recognized face of Revlon skin-care products and (more to the point) UN special ambassador for women's rights in Africa. Desert Dawn picks up where her first book, the bestselling Desert Flower, left off. Waris is breaking up with Dana, the African-American father of her son Aleeke. She is also preparing to return to Somalia, to look for her parents, who she hasn't seen in five years, and who, for all she knows, may be dead. Candid memories of her childhood - including her genital mutilation (Waris abhors the euphemistic term 'circumcision') - are interspersed with her journey, first to Amsterdam, where she is reunited with her refugee brother Mohammed, and then, after a nightmarish couple of days in Abu Dhabi, to Somalia, free-loading brother in tow. Told in simple but effective prose, this is a testament to the courage and determination of a remarkable woman who, though she fled her homeland, never forgot the culture which moulded her. For all the injustice it has heaped upon her, Waris Dirie sees the good as well - above all, the courage, resilience and humour of Somalian women, not least her mother, with whom she is finally reunited. There is hope for the future too, as we see Mohammed change from unreconstructed bully to righteous defender of his sister. Even her father, now virtually blind, welcomes her back with open arms. An affecting and eye-opening book. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

2,002 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 27% (546)
4 36% (730)
3 28% (556)
2 7% (148)
1 1% (22)
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