There are guns and bandits in this story.
And there’s drought and starvation too.
Are you wondering how they all come together?
Well, that’s how life is these days. Things don’t happen neatly in separate little places. We’re all caught by the great spider’s web of media that spans the world.
That’s where this story is set. The world.
It’s the story of Abdi and Khadija and Freya (that’s me) and what happened to us because of Somalia…….
When I read that on the back of this amazingly, unbelievably beautiful cover, I knew I wanted to read this book.
This is one of those books with a whole load of bold, inspiring quotes that I will be delighted to share with you guys. But first, I would like to review this story.
I feel like this book showed me the world, all the shocking truths and the uncomfortable realities. It didn’t hide anything from its reader, it was honest and raw and challenging. Its purpose seemed to shine from every page: informing and empowering today’s young people to make a difference, make a change.
It mixes the worlds of war-torn, desperate Africa with the glamour and flamboyance of London’s secretive fashion industry, to create an interwoven story of deep characters and fantastic ideas.
The character that spoke to me the most was Khadija, a poor nomadic girl who comes over to the UK as a teenager, to get an education. Through a chance encounter with London’s top fashion designer, she reluctantly gets tangled up in the elusive net of models and fashion. Her mind is filled with secrets and she is torn between many loyalties, but she remains strong and true to her beliefs and family.
Her character is an interesting one, as she only becomes involved in the modelling to pay her brother’s ransom when he is kidnapped by desperate criminals back in Africa. It is going against all her values as she is a Muslim. The way the story develops is quite beautiful to watch. Relationships form between all the characters and the tight plotline unravels, obviously revealing the odd baddie every now and then!
It makes you wonder what part you play in this world. Where you belong. Where do you belong?
I’m quite proud of that review actually. I really enjoyed writing it and enjoyed reading the book even more. I would absolutely, unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone over thirteen/fourteen as several scenes are quite upsetting and shocking.
Now, I am bursting to share some of those awesome quotes I was telling you about. As you know, I just cannot resist these little snippets of speech, windows to other worlds. Here are a few striking ones from this book:
However rich Khadija gets, she can’t end the fighting that tears Somalia apart. Only the warlords and the pirates can do that, by putting down their guns.
She can’t change the fact that the modern, citified world doesn’t leave much room for boys who want to be nomads. And she can’t do anything about the global warming that makes the rains fail and dries up the waterholes. Not on her own, anyway. Those are huge issues, involving everyone.
Like I said at the very beginning, we are all connected.
Those were the last few paragraphs of the book and, after everything that went on between its pages, those words almost left me in tears.
The next bit is from the point of view of Abdi, who is describing the place he is originally from: Somalia. He hasn’t been there since he fled as a refugee many years ago.
Kids strolling down the streets, with AK47s over their shoulders. Battle wagons with sub-machine guns mounted in the back, and men haggling over ammunition at the arms market in Mogadishu.
You need to be strong to survive in a place like that. You need a good family to back you up, and a pride in your identity.
Freya is the daughter of Sandy Dexter, the fashion designer who spots Khadija and persuades her to be the star of her next show. Freya is nothing like her Mother, she doesn’t care about clothes or trends or the media. She’s more like her Father, a war photographer who’s been to Somalia.
Freya becomes good friends with Khadija and earns her trust. Here she is describing her Father’s job.
Somalia was just a name in a list I’d been reciting for most of my life: My Dad’s been a war photographer in Darfur and Afghanistan and Rwanda and Somalia…….
There were pictures to go with the words, of course, because that’s what a photographer does, but they weren’t the kind of images you’d show to a little child. By the time I was old enough to see them, Dad’s trips were in the past , and I never really sorted out which was which. The photos were all pictures of violence and grief and dust, and the places blurred together in my mind.
What do you think? Have you read this book? Would you read it? Did you enjoy my review? What about the quotes? Please let me know your thoughts by dropping me a comment below! *points down at comment box* Thank y’all very much for listening!