Book Review: Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond


Title: Nowhere Girl

By: Cheryl Diamond

Genre: Memior

Pages: 320

Release Date: June 15th, 2021

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Rating: ★★★★☆


Summary from Goodreads:

The incredible true story of a family built on lies. 

What if the people you love most are not who you thought they were? What if you don’t know who you are, either? Cheryl Diamond’s memoir begins when she is four and her family is in Kashmir, India, hurtling down the Himalayas in their battered station wagon headed for the Golden Temple, the holiest site in the Sikh religion. The family are Sikhs. Today. In a few years they will be Jewish. Cheryl’s name is Harbhajan. Today. But in a few years she will be Crystal. By the time she turns nine, Cheryl has had at least six assumed identities. She has lived on five continents, fleeing the specter of Interpol and law enforcement. Her father, a master financial criminal, or so she believes, uproots the family at the slightest sign of suspicion.
Despite the strange circumstances, Diamond’s life as a young child is mostly joyful and exciting, her family of five a tiny, happy circle unto themselves. Even as she learn how to forge identity papers and fix a car with chicken wire, she somehow becomes a near-Olympic-level athlete and then an international teenage model. She even publishes a book about it. As she grows older, though, things get darker. Her identity is burned again and again, leaving her with no past, no proof even that she exists, and her family—the only people she has in the world—begins to unravel. Love and trust turn to fear and violence. Secrets are revealed, and she is betrayed by those on whom she relies most.
Slowly, Diamond begins to realize that her life itself might be a big con. Surviving would require her to escape, and we root for this determined woman as she unlearns all the rules of her family. Cinematic and witty, Nowhere Girl is an impossible-to-believe true story of self-discovery and triumph.


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This was a wild ride of a story.

Cheryl Diamond grew up on the run. Always looking over her shoulder and never knowing if she would stay in one place long. She longed for a normal childhood, but it was just out of reach. I found this story incredibly heartbreaking, but a beacon of perseverance and strength. Its amazing to me that one person can go through everything that Diamond went through at such a young age, but yet have the clarity of mind to still be themselves and do what's needed to survive.

This book was an intense read worth the time.

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