When Soraya Miré was thirteen years old, the girls on the playground would taunt her, saying she could not play with them—not as long as she walked with three legs. Confused and hurt, she went to her mother, who mysteriously responded that the time had come for Soraya to receive her gift. Miré too soon discovers the horror of the “gift,” female genital mutilation (FGM), whereby a young girl’s healthy organs are chopped off not only to make her acceptable to a future husband but also to rein in her “wildness.”
In The Girl with Three Legs, Soraya Miré reveals what it means to grow up in a traditional Somali family, where girls’ and women’s basic human rights are violated on a daily basis. A victim of FGM and an arranged marriage to an abusive cousin, Miré 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, Miré realizes FGM is the ultimate child abuse, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter and protected by the word “culture.”
Miré’s tale is a dramatic chronicle of the personal challenges she overcame, a testament to the empowerment of women, and a firsthand account of the violent global oppression of women and girls. Despite the horror she experienced, her words resonate with hope, humanity, and dignity. Her life story is one of inspiration and redemption.
About The Author:
The recipient of Human Rights Award at the United Nations. Soraya Miré is a human rights activist, a filmmaker, and a spokesperson against female genital mutilation. She wrote, directed, and produced the film Fire Eyes, the definitive film on FGM. Miré appeared in The Vagina Monologues in London, on Broadway, in Madison Square Garden, and in Los Angeles; she has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline, and other programs; and articles about her have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Essence. She lives in Los Angeles.
I have heard of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for a number of years now, but this is the first time I have a read a book about a personal account. It was an incredibly difficult book to read, and I actually needed to put it down on a few occasions so I could digest what it was I read.
The atrocities that the author, and so many young woman like her, have had to deal with is unbelievable. Yet, despite the horrific things she endured, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Soraya Mire has been instrumental in bringing to light FGM and teaching the Western World about it, and what we can do to stop it. She has written with remarkable candidness, honesty and rawness. A warning though, that there are some very graphic points in the book, so I would not recommend this be read by those under the ages of 18. That said, it is a book to read if you are wanting to learn more about FGM, and how to campaign against it. There are a number of resources provided by the author, and I felt the book was very well written and organized.
It is a story of horrific abuse by a child at the hands of her mother and culture, but it is also an amazing story of healing and the power of the human spirit.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase The Girl With Three Legs at your favorite book retailer, or online through Amazon.
***I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book, courtesy of NetGalley, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***