After I finished Nomad by Hirsi Ali, I wanted to read Infidel to get a better idea on her background. I'm glad I did. While Nomad did go over most of...moreAfter I finished Nomad by Hirsi Ali, I wanted to read Infidel to get a better idea on her background. I'm glad I did. While Nomad did go over most of the second half other back, Infidel goes into greater detail of her early childhood and her teen years. I liked this part of the book, especially the detailing of how she became quite devout in her teen years and the beginning of her 20s.
I know people debate this book, especially Muslims. Some people call Hirsi Ali's biography as being far too political. To those people I feel I must point out that she is a politician. It's like asking a musician to refrain from making their biography too musical, or to ask a sports player to remove all references to sports from their biography. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a politician. Her life is politics. You can't ask her to remove most of her life from her own autobiography.
Towards the end I started getting a little restless. I felt I had read most of this before, and I had, in Nomad. I mostly just skimmed the epilogue; most of it had been covered in the book I had already.
I find myself reading a lot of autobiographies and biographies about Muslim women who had pulled away from their religion. I think it's because it's so far removed from my life and my experiences. And I think this is partially why Hirsi Ali (and other women from Islamic backgrounds) write these books: to shock people like myself, and to get them to discover experiences that they wouldn't otherwise encounter. This is certainly why I read these books.(less)
What an amazing woman. She reminds me as the original Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Both women escaped the life forced upon them, became fiercely independent femal...moreWhat an amazing woman. She reminds me as the original Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Both women escaped the life forced upon them, became fiercely independent females, and yet still miss their life in Somalia. And both have since become ambassadors for their cause, as well as the face of their major issues.
There are parts of the story that are skimmed over- such as how Dirie was able to divorce Nigel, and what happened to her in the early 1990s. But I'm sure a bit of poking around on Google would answer these questions. I also seem to remember a picture of her and Naomi Campbell somewhere in the book, but maybe it has since been removed due to Campbell's, ahem, issues.
The dialogue leaves a little to be desired, but Dirie admits that writing and reading English isn't her forte, and that's understandable. Cathleen Miller clearly helped out, but she also obviously left most of the storytelling to Dirie, which I think works best. This is her story, after all, and it should be treated as such. I don't like it when the ghostwriter takes over.
This is a good autobiography, and Dirie is a champion for having escaped the grips of her family. Kudos to you, Dirie!(less)
What a fascinating and insightful read. I haven't read Infidel yet, and I have a feeling I'd enjoy that more, but I still learnt a lot in this book. I...moreWhat a fascinating and insightful read. I haven't read Infidel yet, and I have a feeling I'd enjoy that more, but I still learnt a lot in this book. I liked the way Hirsi Ali spoke about her mother, brother, grandmother and the like in separate chapters. I like how she made reference to her cousins, those that made it (in some fashion) in Western society, and those that utterly failed to.
I also found this interesting as I once taught several Islamic Somali and Kenyan girls. One followed Islam for cultural reasons, but it was quietly suggested that her brother-in-law, whom she lived with, was much more of a deep believer. The other followed Islam for similar reasons, but it was lightly implied that she was forced to follow it religiously as well.
As for her remarks on Christianity, I'm uncertain. It could go both ways- it may be possible for Muslim women to convert, as a 'stopping point', but across the board I don't think it possible. I don't have any solutions, though.(less)