Saturday, August 27, 2011

Book Review - The Girl with Three Legs


The Girl with Three Legs, a memoir written by Soraya Mire, is an account of her life and her experience of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).   As a young girl from an upper class family in Somalia, Soraya was teased for being a “girl with three legs”.  Not understanding what this meant, she questioned her mother, who reassured her that she would soon receive her “gift”.  Soraya didn’t understand that her gift would cause excruciating pain and significant medical complications and emotional turmoil for years. 
Femal Genital Mutilation, also known as Female Circumcision, is a custom that involves surgically removing portions or a woman’s privates and sewing them together.  This can cause chronic urinary tract infections and painful menses.  It has been reported that anywhere between 60 to 140 women have experienced FGM. 

Soraya describes to readers the painful experience of the procedure and the aftermath.  Soraya, as a teenager, is then forced into an arranged marriage with a cousin.  Amazingly, she finds the courage and strength to escape her marriage and pursue her education.  I do not want to give away all the details of the book, but Soraya is able to receive help through various people to overcome her medical issues.  Soraya makes it her life mission to educate people about FGM, aid those who have experienced it, and help end the traditional practice.  Soraya created a documentary entitled, “Fire Eyes”, which educates the world on FGM and allows women who have experienced FGM to have a voice.
Soraya is such a strong woman.  I attempted to imagine myself in her position and the pain, anxiety, and anger she must have felt.  I wonder what I would have done in her situation.  Would I have fought back or accepted my fate due to the custom?  So many people, including her own family members, were against her creating her documentary.  Many Somalians turned their back on her, including her own mother.  She was viewed by many as threatening a tradition, not as improving the culture.  It is amazing to think that the practice still continues in some countries.  I wish I could have an ounce of the courage Soraya has displayed in speaking up for herself.  She is certainly an amazing woman and spokesperson for others. 

If you would like to listen to Soraya Mire speak about being an activist, here is a YouTube video link:

Visit Soraya Mire's website HERE!

*Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post.  I received a free e-book for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed here are my own.
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