cover image Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

Cheryl Diamond. Algonquin, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61620-820-2

Former model Diamond (Naked Rome) offers a transfixing chronicle of her coming-of-age bouncing from city to city and country to country to outrun the authorities. Her family—a tight band of five comprising her parents, sister, and brother—lived a life straight out of a thriller that was marked by false identities, financial schemes, deep mistrust, and a desperation to avoid Interpol officers. “By the age of nine, I will have lived in more than a dozen countries, on five continents, under six assumed identities,” she writes. As her family flitted from India to South Africa to America—committing forgery and fraud along the way—she was taught how to survive through judo lessons and a detailed escape plan (which she was entrusted with at age 13) to use “if everything goes to hell”—but she never learned her parents’ real names to protect them and herself. In a propulsive, at times harrowing, narrative, Diamond recounts the tutelage of her psychologically abusive father, how she went from being homeless to a successful fashion model in New York City, and a debilitating illness that devastated her mind and body in her early 20s. Eloquent and bracing, Diamond’s story will haunt readers long after the last page. (June)