Review: The Girl with Three Legs

Why I picked it: I enjoy reading memoirs, reading other people's stories. A memoir about life experiences and culture (even when the story is tough) makes for a powerful read.

Synopsis:  A victim of FGM and an arranged marriage to an abusive cousin, MirĂ© was also witness to the instability of Somalia’s political landscape: her father was a general for the military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, and her family moved in the inner circles of Somalia’s elite. In her journey to recover from the violence done to her, MirĂ© realizes FGM is the ultimate child abuse, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter and protected by the word “culture.”

Type: Memoir

Quick Take: Can I say this... I'm so glad I decided to read this book.  The author writes her story without gruesome detail but enough to express the pain she endured, for being born a girl.

After having her female parts 'cut off' at age thirteen, she is sewn up... only to be opened by her future husband.  To avoid being graphic... imagine the hygiene issues this creates once a month.

As part of their culture, this 'gift' makes girls more attractive to potential husbands who are chosen for them.  In Soraya's story, her mother chooses a cousin to be her future husband.  Someone who treats her terribly and she is forced to escape to save her life.

I wasn't prepared for Soraya's story.  Not only did she receive her 'gift' but the infections and healing process are more than any girl should have to endure.  I knew about FGM before reading this memoir but I wasn't aware of...or didn't think about... the healing process.  Soraya has many complications post surgery, they will haunt you and I'm shocked to learn that this is still viewed as an important cultural experience. 

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Review Copy (NetGalley)