Reviews & Comments
- Steven Svoboda
The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir. By Soraya Mire. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2011
Soraya Mire, longtime toiler in the trenches to help educate the world about the harm caused by female genital cutting (FGC), has published her biography. The author, who has also made clear her opposition to male circumcision, has come up with a truly remarkable book, for a number of reasons.
- Jack David Eller
ABSTRACT: A brave and honest woman tells her story of female genital mutilation and then her efforts to liberate herself and others through her filmmaking, writing, and global activism.
Here is some hopeful news: “The New York Times” reported in October of 2011 that Senegal has achieved remarkable success in curbing the practice of female circumcision—also known as female genital mutilation (FGM)—with the majority of villages that formerly performed now committed to ending it.
- Miriam Pollack
I am in the midst of your story now; I can hardly put it down, and I can hardly pick it up. Your writing is eloquent, poetic, deceptively simple revealing the innocence of a child's pure soul, which collides with the absolute horror of what you and millions of others have experienced and continue to experience. I thank you for surviving, for your implacable spirit, and for your commitment to retell this unimaginable tale, even though it meant plunging back into the nightmare. And, then the third pain and third testimony to your courage: to go public and present this wounding around the country! G-d bless your beautiful soul, Soraya. May you be safe, and see the fruits of your suffering create healing and change everywhere.
- "We Praise Our Beloved Sister," by Sidran Wolf Moon
Our beloved sister, you are a gift from the sky. You are sweet and strong, bestowed on us by the stars. When you were a baby and held on a lap, when you became an adolescent and your soul was split, ripped apart from you, cut away, and you took your place among your peers, And went to school and claimed not only success but a deep understanding of yourself and of the world, your intellect and knowledge blossoming, manifesting in ways that none dared imagine, Surpassing the limits set upon you, You help those lag behind, unaware of their own torture, So we dance to the sky our thanks. May your life continue to be lived at the highest level. Your voice continue to be heard, in the farthest corners of despair. Your voice, a light that leads weeping souls out of the darkness and into the arms of justice. Your voice, a song that soothes the bleeding that has never stopped. Your voice, your icy truth, unyielding, ripping its way into the light. Ripping the peace of the rippers, cutting away their certainty and authority and lies. May your heart and soul know our gratitude. May it nourish and comfort you. May the knowledge that you have inspired us, all of us, to unveil our truths, to abandon our whispering. To speak, to shout, to scream, our stories, our pain. Inspired us to seek, to demand, justice, soothe you. When you are tired, when the road is long, when the winds are unforgiving, may you look into the night and feel our love. May you hear our new-found voices, every one, clear, strong, unafraid, May you hear us saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
I was at the hair salon getting ready for my book signing event at Bookstar. My memoir The Girl with Three Legs was released today and I was selecting a chapter to read at the event. The hairdresser glanced at the book cover and was visibly shaken. I told her about the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and how many people think that a woman’s intact body is abnormal and must be corrected. The clitoris is seen as dangerous flesh that would drive the woman to madness. To safeguard her chastity and prepare her for marriage, her external genitals must be removed. "You mean they just cut it off?"
- More magazine
"In her searing memoir, Miré brings a face and a forgiving, inspiring voice to the horrors of female genital mutilation (FGM)."
As the child of a top Somali general in the 1960s, Soraya Mire’ grew up spying on her family, trying to make sense of the oppressively secretive atmosphere and to comprehend the complicated web of bribery, adultery, sexual hypocrisy, and drugs that encircled her clan.
I don't know how I can do this book justice in a review. It's one that if I'm ever asked "What's it about?" I think the only accurate answer I could give is "Read the book." But I'll try my best.
- Life Happens While Books are Waiting
Somalia was a country in upheaval. Soraya was a child with friends who would not play with her because they said she had three legs. Unable to understand, she turned to the person she trusted most, her mother.Promising her a "gift" at 13, her mother took her to a stranger, a man, to be mutilated. (genital mutilation) Her female parts were cut off and she was sewn up, only to be opened by her future husband.
- Bookworm with a View
Last night I started reading
The Girl with Three Legs: a memoir. This is more than a book about a different culture. I may agree with the author, this is a form of abuse, but many believe it's a right of passage (into womanhood).
Synopsis: 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.”
Daughter of a powerful Somali general, Miré suffered, at age 13, the excruciating pain of female genital mutilation (FGM), but she has survived to become a global activist against the atrocity. She tells her story as victim and as powerful militant. The family betrayal is always with her: How can she ever forgive her mother for the cruelty of FGM, and her father for going along with it, and then for the arranged marriage to an abusive cousin? But she does escape, leaves her family and her culture, has therapy and reversal surgery to restore normal sexual function, and finds love and friendship in Europe and then in the U.S, always driven by her passionate cause. She describes an appearance on Oprah, her alliance with Alice Walker, and the story behind the making of her film, Fire Eyes. There is a lot of repetitive detail in this account, but readers will be caught by the urgency of the contemporary cause, rooted in the anguish of one brave woman.
- Publishers Weekly
"Miré's personal, passionate, and persuasive rejection
of any cultural defense of female genital mutilation
makes compelling reading...Her “mission of speaking out
to end the abuse of girls” is well served by her
- Dr. Phyllis Chesler’s Endorsement for Soraya Mire’s Book
I could not put this book down. It is a very riveting read. Mire is a divinely determined humanitarian, a woman who has turned her own enormous suffering into a brave campaign to help other women who have also been genitally mutilated in the Arab, Muslim, and African worlds. Mire is unstoppable. She does not spare anyone: not herself, not her family, not her culture which persists in traumatizing and torturing its girls in the name of family purity. Mire carefully, personally, exposes how girls are genitally mutilated, usually without anesthesia, always at the insistence of their mothers and/or grandmothers; she describes exactly how this mutilation leads to lifelong suffering.
- Published on July 5 at BestBooks4Teens.com
Female genital mutilation is an issue that many of us know little about, but this book brings home the extent of this cruel practice and the lifelong physical and mental consequences suffered by women who have undergone the procedure. A cultural norm throughout parts of Africa and beyond, FGM involves an extensive removal of genital tissue, often performed with no anesthetic while the young girl is pinned down, screaming in agony.
Hooray for Soraya Mire for taking a stand and trying to put an end to a horrible cultural practice. I felt like I was watching the movie version while reading this book--vivid, eloquent language makes it seem as such. I am also in awe of her perseverance to leave her home country and to keep remaking herself as she finds her true self.