A Memoir

Soraya Miré. Lawrence Hill, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-56976-713-9
Miré, “the daughter of a Somali general, a survivor of female genital mutilation, a survivor of an abusive arranged marriage to a relative, now an activist for African girls and women,” brings all these personae together in her memoir. Miré is at her most compelling in her graphic rendering of the harrowing genital procedure performed on her. She studiously avoids politics (“I didn’t want to get involved with the north and south politics in Somalia”), but readers unfamiliar with those politics may be disoriented when they impinge, as they do. Bits of Miré’s account border on the ethnographic: chewing qat (leaves and twigs meant to stimulate the mind); a spirit dancer’s purification ceremony ; her surprise arranged wedding made “with the blessings of my family and without my knowledge or agreement.” Miré’s sojourn to America, by way of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France, and the saga of making her film, Fire Eyes, are reported more minutely than is engaging. Although the telling is long-winded and the dialogue bland, Miré’s personal, passionate, and persuasive rejection of any cultural defense of female genital mutilation makes compelling reading. “I own my story, my body, and my voice,” Miré asserts, “and no one can stop my mission to end the practice.” Her “mission of speaking out to end the abuse of girls” is well served by her heartfelt account. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 410 pages - 978-1-56976-928-7
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-56976-930-0
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