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Desert Flower

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,513 Ratings  ·  670 Reviews
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 lif ...more
Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published (first published 1998)
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Suniva Snowe FGM is not limited to Somali women, but is practised in several African countries. The following links offer some information.

FGM is not limited to Somali women, but is practised in several African countries. The following links offer some information.

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Feb 23, 2016 Libby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women, Social Workers, Legislators, Humanitarians, Psychologists, Counselors
There are three reasons why I chose to pursue "Desert Flower" by Waris Dirie. Her book showed up as a GoodReads recommendation with a summary about the author overcoming tremendous odds in Africa; I delved into the book and realized that I recognized the author to be an international super model; and, once I started reading the book, its contents were so compelling that the text was difficult to set aside for even a little bit of time.

"Desert Flower" is an autobiographical account of how Waris D
Jul 29, 2011 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
brilliant book, I could not put it down once I started reading it.

I read it within 24 hours, and found myself mesmerised by this womans story, and how she overcame obstacles that most of us wouldn't dream of, to get to where she is today.

Without going into too much detail, she managed to convey the horror and trauma of being subjected to female genital circumcision, a practise that causes more problems, than it prevents, and convinces you, that as a woman, we have a duty, irregardless of where w
Apr 08, 2015 Iva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women everywhere
Recommended to Iva by: Anja
Potresna prica djevojke koja je prosla put od somalske nomatkinje i pastirice do supermodela i ambasadorice UN-a. Knjiga nakon koje sam zahvalna sto sam rodjena tu gdje jesam iako divim se na hrabrosti i ustrajnosti Waris, iako citsjuci knjigu dozivjela sam neku vrstu kulturoloskog šoka jer su mi nepojmljive odredjene prakse i nacin zivota u Somaliji i da se to dogadja u 20. i 21. stoljecu i nije fikcija nego stvarnost. Sto se samog stila pisanja tice imam dojam da je imala veliku pomoc nekog ur ...more
Odmah, da ne bi bilo zabune.. Žena je mrak! Svaka čast na svemu postignutom u životu! Trebao bi biti više takvih na svijetu.. Svima bi nam bilo ljepše..
I hvala joj što me podsjetila gdje živim! Ponekad neke stvari stvarno shvaćamo zdravo za gotovo.

A knjiga.. Hm.. Sada ima 13 godina, pa onda ima 5, pa ima oko 9, pa ima tri, pa ima 11 i onda je manekenka, pa nakon toga ima 9 godina i onda 13.. :P Na momente mi je išla na živce i nikako mi nije bila simpatična. Eto.. :-/
Feb 24, 2012 Ivana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion this is a tremendously important book. It is not just a wonderful memoir and a tale of amazing bravery of Waris Dirie, but also an detail account of FGM from the perspective of a victim. The reason why I picked up this book was mainly because I wanted to learn something more about FGM. I did learn something more, the kind of information that is personal not just theoretical. In addition, Waris does not only tell her story. She tells the story of other women she had known that have ...more
Mikey B.
This is an autobiography of a very resilient and head-strong Somali woman who up and left her desert nomadic clan. She was to be betrothed, as a young teenage girl (birth dates were not recorded in her tribe), to a much older man. She was having none of that!

She trekked solo to Mogadishu – and from there managed through relatives, to get a posting as a maid at the Somalia London embassy. Eventually she entered the world of high fashion modeling.

Her Somalia narrative was intensely interesting, b

I picked up this book on pure chance, when it popped up as a recommendation. Since I’m interested in culture-clash and the African experience, I started reading it. Waris Dirie, who was an international model, came from the life of a desert nomad in Somalia. Fleeing in order to escape an arranged marriage to a much older man when she was just fourteen, Waris’ extraordinary flight across the desert leads first to the country’s capital of Mogadishu, and then to London, where she worked as a house
Jun 15, 2011 LG rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of biographies
Anne Russell wrote: “This is an easy read that gives one insight into female circumcision. One finishes the book with an interest to learn more about the issue and how effective the work the UN has done. It also provides an angle on the illegal immigrant story that is not as grim as so many tales are. For those of us living overseas one can appreciate her reflections in the end about being a nomad yet being very loyal to Somalia despite its problems.”

I read this memoir a couple of years back. I
There is a lot to admire about Waris Dirie and her story. Raised in a nomadic Somali family, apparently raped at age four and then mutilated in a female circumcision ritual at age five, Dirie bravely ran away from home at thirteen to avoid being married off to an old man. Dirie endured a great many trials and tribulations -- finding her way to Mogadishu and to her long-lost relatives, a string of unsuccessful living arrangements, working as a maid in London and then as kitchen help in McDonalds ...more
Mar 15, 2011 Raiya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
انتهيت بالأمس من قراءة رواية زهرة الصحراء. استمتعتُ كثيراً بقراءتها واكتشتفتُ عوالم أخرى جديدة كنت أجهلها. الرواية من نوع الروايات التي ما أن تبداً في قرائتها؛ حتى تجد نفسك وقد أنهيتها في مدة قصيرة لسلاستها و واقعية الأفكار فيها.
الرواية معنونة بـ" ديزرت فلاور" أي زهرة الصحراء. وهي لـ ويريس داير.
الرواية من القطع المتوسطة الحجم، في 430 صفحة.

الرواية بأحداثها وتفاصيلها تعتبر جريئة في الطرح، حيث أن الكاتبة تحكي عن قصة حياتها إبتداء من طفولتها الحزينة في صحراء الصومال إلى أن أصبحت سفيرة للولايات المتح
I just... I don't even know how to begin to say how inspired I was by Waris' story. It was harrowing in many places and yet somehow, against all odds, she has not only survived but emerged resilient. She shows such bravery in fighting back against the scourge of Female Genital Mutilation. It is such a hugely personal and difficult thing to discuss but she has done it, not fearlessly but despite her fear and doing so helped to bring this important issue back into the public's attention. Horrifica ...more
Bobs (Reader Unbound)

I have very mixed feelings about this book, mainly because even with my most vivid imagination I could not imagine what that woman went through. Not just her but hundreds of women that even today have to go through this barbaric ritual to prove themselves untouched, innocent. To become the ultimate symbol of a good women.
This book made me think a lot about the life we live and the conveniences we have. The things we take for granted, for something normal that all people have, yet we do not real
Apr 09, 2015 Nikoleta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Όταν τελείωσα την ανάγνωση τις συγκλονιστικής αληθινής ιστορίας της Waris Dirie, που μου πήρε μόνο μια ημέρα, καθώς δεν μπορούσα με τίποτα να το αφήσω από τα χέρια μου σκεφτόμουν ξανά ότι σε πολλές περιοχές του κόσμου το φύλο μου υφίσταται εξευτελισμό και πνευματικά και σωματικά μαρτύρια μόνο και μόνο επειδή είναι γένος θηλυκού. Ευχαριστούσα την μοίρα που με έφερε στην Ελλάδα και μεγάλωσα στην οικογένεια που μεγάλωσα συνειδητοποιώντας πόσο τυχερή είμαι. Το προτείνω!!
Ali Reza Rahiminia
بعضي از جاهاي كتاب اينقدر تحت تاثير قرار مي گيري كه دلت مي خواهد گريه كني. خاطرات واريس ديري ، تلخ است و با زبان خود واريس بيان شده . ساده و بي تكلف. مثل زندگي كولي وار خودش. و يكي از تلخ ترين جمله هاي كتاب:" در بخشي از دنيا ما براي غذا تلاش مي كنيم و در طرف ديگر مردم پول مي دهند كه وزن كم كنند." . ما با خاطرات واريس به سومالي به عمق بدويت در دنياي متمدن امروز مي رويم و با او به انگلستان ، ايتاليا ، آمريكا سفر مي كنيم و خاطرات دريچه اي تازه به روي ما باز مي كند.
Mar 08, 2011 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is the true story of Waris Dirie. Born as a nomad in Somailia, at age 13 she ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage to a much older man, and she eventually made her way to London, where she was "discovered" after several years and became an international supermodel and even appeared in a James Bond movie.

Her story is unbelievable! I especially loved reading about her life growing up as a nomad - their only nutrition was camel's milk, they slept outside, worked hard (she had h
Jan 14, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Waris Dirie is a former supermodel (famous in the 1980's and 1990's) who grew up as a nomad in Somalia. Around age 12 or 13, she ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage to a much older man, and she eventually made her way to London, where she was "discovered" after several years. Soon thereafter, she ended up in a James Bond movie (the terrible one with Timothy Dalton) and appeared in calendars, major magazines, and Revlon ads worldwide.

What is truly impressive about this spunky and cou
Mar 17, 2008 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
Certainly worth the read. It is a short, easy, and intersting autobiography. I really enjoyed the first 150 ish pages and, despite the human rights issues at the end, I was less impressed with the conclusion. Still, quite good with an important message.
Sandra D
Interesting, but Born in the Big Rains by Fadumo Korn -- also a survivor of FGM -- was a much better book.
What an incredible life. What an important book this is.
Aug 10, 2011 Jasminka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
"Desert Flower" is a deeply moving, inspiring and incredible true story of a courageous, brave woman born into a Somali desert nomadic family and her development into an international fashion model, a mother and special human rights U.N. ambassador. At the age of 5, she suffered horrifying procedure of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), or circumcision (with a broken razor blade!), which is a common practice in most of the Islamic countries in Africa, but illegal in the rest of the world.
This stu
Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου
Όσα χρόνια γνωρίζομαι με την Νικολέτα, έστω κι αν η γνωριμία αυτή παραμένει προς το παρόν διαδικτυακή λόγω της απόστασης που μας χωρίζει, προσπαθεί να με πείσει να διαβάσω το "Λουλούδι Της Ερήμου". Απελπισμένη προφανώς από την αναβλητικότητά μου, αποφάσισε να μου τα χαρίσει και μαζί με αυτό, μια λογοτεχνική εμπειρία ξεχωριστή, μοναδική και πάνω απ' όλα, αληθινή και την ευχαριστώ γι' αυτό. Γιατί τι θα μπορούσε να είναι πιο αληθινό από την αφήγηση μιας ιστορίας από το ίδιο το πρόσωπο που την έζησε ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Karie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Често чуваме предимно отрицателни неща за моделите, било то поради злоба или предразсъдъци. Но ''Пустинно цвете'' не е просто изповед на една жена, издигнала се от ''номадския живот до модния подиум'', както гласи рекламата върху българското издание. Всяка история, всеки живот представлява поредица от сблъсъци, промени, радости, падения, и това, което прави събитията специални, e нашето лично отношение към тях. Книгата, леко, приятно и увлекателно четиво, представя колоритния живот на Уерис Диър ...more
Bistra Ivanova
Брей, че съм бърза, почнах я към обяд в дупка между две срещи и до вечерта бях готова. Доста слабо написана биография, но пък вълнуваща история на селянче номадче от Сомалия, което тича след козички в пустошта, дои камили, гладува със семейството си с дни, когато се налага, оцелява след женско обрязване, бива му намерен възрастен съпруг иии... решава да избяга - първо в столицата Могадишу, после чак в Лондон, където започва кариера на супер успешен световен модел, а в по-късни години става посла ...more
César Lasso
Memorias de infancia y juventud de la famosa modelo somalí Waris Dirie. Cuenta, cómo no, el trauma de la mutilación genital femenina y la infibulación que se practica en esa tierra que, desde hace muchos años, es un no-país. En eso, coincide con otros testimonios de mujeres somalíes, como por ejemplo el que recoge el libro Aman.

Este de Waris Dirie se lee con el interés creciente de una buena novela. No se limita a un lamento por las injusticias que padecen las mujeres de aquellas tierras: es una
Feb 07, 2014 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must read book.
It highlights female circumcision, a horrific problem that continues in Africa and even in places like the UK.
if more of us read these books then maybe the outcry against it would stop it from happening.
Awareness is key.

Not the best written book in the world but a very inspiring book by an empowered woman.
Apr 03, 2016 Neja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stories
Dirie's story really shocked me. I remember when I first heard for this book.. a teacher told us and I thought to myself...I have to read this book! I've read it two years ago. It's so heartbreaking knowing the world is so different in some places. Things, that really shouldn't happen to anyone, sadly DO happen.
Lauryn Owens
Feb 04, 2014 Lauryn Owens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Waris is a famous supermodel. She is the narrator and main character of her autobiography. The autobiography is about all of her struggles and the events that led up to her stardom. In the Somalia desert in where she lived there was no medication. She was circumcised with no medication where, her legs were tied together to prevent the stitches from breaking. She couldn't move for about a month. Every time she peed it stung really bad. From this event I can tell she is really brave and strong. Th ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Jordyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Desert Flower is about the struggles of Nomad, Waris, in Siberia. She struggles with everyday life, and fights the culture that she was born into. Every girl has to go to the same thing to become a "woman", circumcision. Waris wanted to go through this, she wanted to be respected, and liked by boys. Boys didn't want anything to do with "girls", they wanted the real "women". Waris eventually watched as her sister goes through the pain, and then is married off to a stranger, she then didn't know ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Bella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wide-reading
Desert Flower by Waris Dirie is a book I chose to re-read because my mum recommended it as a quick but amazing book and I believe I could get more out of reading it again as I am older therefore able to comprehend a better understanding of the book and its meaning.

This book fits in to my personal choice category on the reading hopscotch.

Waris Dirie the star of the text is both a role model and hero. She is a strong-minded and willed woman who is respectful, courageous, smart, intuitive and true
Oct 29, 2010 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Desert Flower is the story of the life of a girl named Waris who lived in Africa. As the book goes on, many things happen to Waris; some things good, but many are bad. I love this book because it makes you realize that in some countries, there are some people who suffer more than you would ever imagine.
When I read this book, I couldn't put it down. It made me angry that these things happened but there is a good ending! This book left me with many questions. Such as, what would it be like to l
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Waris Dirie (Somali: Waris Diiriye, Arabic: واريس ديري) (born in 1965) is a Somali model, author, actress and human rights activist.

In 1997, Waris abandoned her modeling career to focus on her work against female circumcision. That same year, she was appointed UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).
More about Waris Dirie...

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“I feel that God made my body perfect the way I was born. Then man robbed me, took away my power, and left me a cripple. My womanhood was stolen. If God had wanted those body parts missing, why did he create them?
I just pray that one day no woman will have to experience this pain. It will become a thing of the past. People will say "Did you hear, female genital mutilation has been outlawed in Somalia?" Then the next country, and the next, and so on, until the world is safe for all women. What a happy day that will be, and that's what I'm working toward. In'shallah, if God is willing, it will happen. ”
“My mother named me after a miracle of nature: Waris means desert flower. The desert flower blooms in a barren environment where few living things can survive.” 23 likes
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