Hot Best Seller

Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

Availability: Ready to download

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 relig 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.  


Compare

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 relig 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.  

30 review for Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A best book of the year for me. Superb. For anyone who follows my Instagram account, you know that I have been screaming from the rooftops about this book. It is one of the most outstanding stories I've ever read. It's unlike anything I've ever heard of and quite frankly, I wouldn't have believed someone's life could actually be like this had I not read the book. I don't want to really get into any of the details regarding the story because I think it's best to go in as blind as possible. While A best book of the year for me. Superb. For anyone who follows my Instagram account, you know that I have been screaming from the rooftops about this book. It is one of the most outstanding stories I've ever read. It's unlike anything I've ever heard of and quite frankly, I wouldn't have believed someone's life could actually be like this had I not read the book. I don't want to really get into any of the details regarding the story because I think it's best to go in as blind as possible. While there is no chance I would give this anything less than 5 stars, I wish there would have been a little more info given regarding certain family members, but I wonder if that was done on purpose. All I can say is that once you get about 10 pages in, you sincerely won't want to stop reading. I've never read nonfiction this fast before in my life. The expression, 'this reads like fiction' is absolutely true here. There is something in this book for everyone. Thank you to Algonquin Books and Cheryl Diamond for the gifted copies in exchange for an honest review. Review Date: 06/28/2021 Publication Date: 06/15/2021

  2. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    Wow! This book deals with so much and it was astonishing what this family had to go through and what the children had to go through to make sure nobody knew who they were. This book is about a family who is on the run from the mothers father who threatened to take the children away. So as they hop from country to country and city to city it is up to the children to make sure they have their story straight of who they are. I found this fascinating and intriguing through out the whole book. A+ Than Wow! This book deals with so much and it was astonishing what this family had to go through and what the children had to go through to make sure nobody knew who they were. This book is about a family who is on the run from the mothers father who threatened to take the children away. So as they hop from country to country and city to city it is up to the children to make sure they have their story straight of who they are. I found this fascinating and intriguing through out the whole book. A+ Thank you Algonquin Books for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This isn’t a memoir; is crappy fiction that steals every “on the run” trope from movies and fictional titles. From the “details” of her life at 4 to the conversations she’s reinacts (focus on “act,” because it’s bs), to “I’m an Olympic-level athlete; my brother is also, but we will conveniently forget that we are fugitives while we pursue these dreams. Ugh. Enough already— and I didn’t even add what’s thrown in for shock value. I’ll never get these wasted hours back.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jaymi The OC Book Girl

    Incredible story. Forgiveness and strength and resilience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    steph

    Solid 3.5 stars I was utterly engrossed by her childhood but my interest wavered towards the end. It seemed like she was the strongest one of them all -her parents, siblings, grandparents, etc yet I wonder how much of that is true and how much of that is because she is writing this book and thus has the power to sway readers into agreeing with her interpretations of the events. That said, this is still a super interesting read especially considering how close in age I am with her. I could never im Solid 3.5 stars I was utterly engrossed by her childhood but my interest wavered towards the end. It seemed like she was the strongest one of them all -her parents, siblings, grandparents, etc yet I wonder how much of that is true and how much of that is because she is writing this book and thus has the power to sway readers into agreeing with her interpretations of the events. That said, this is still a super interesting read especially considering how close in age I am with her. I could never imagine living through the life she had (and I don't want to). I am interested to see if she writes another memoir later in life. I would like to see what she does next because she still has a full life ahead of her and it isn't over yet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi Becker

    I don't often read memoirs, but I was drawn to this based upon a recommendation and the description. The story is delivered via chapters where "location" and age are effective touchstones for telling a story across a time frame. It opens with a young girl, 5-year-old, Harbhajan or Bhajan, recalling her parents' wayward ways, always running from their truth. The father is a thief and con-man, who railroads his wife, the mother of three children, to live a life on the lam. The telling exposes a vas I don't often read memoirs, but I was drawn to this based upon a recommendation and the description. The story is delivered via chapters where "location" and age are effective touchstones for telling a story across a time frame. It opens with a young girl, 5-year-old, Harbhajan or Bhajan, recalling her parents' wayward ways, always running from their truth. The father is a thief and con-man, who railroads his wife, the mother of three children, to live a life on the lam. The telling exposes a vast amount of secrets, lies, emotional, and physical abuse. What's makes up the chapters is distressing and at times very hard to read. Sometimes things don't make sense and their actions are in direct conflict with their life in hiding. Heartbreaking and criminal, there are inappropriate relations for this always at-risk child. As she ages, and as the truth about her family's blood linkage comes out, she also begins a new life. Which in and of itself is sad. Poverty and sickness threaten to swallow her up, but she also is a person who's learned from it all. I very much enjoyed the last 5-10% as her maturity and grace shines through. 4 Stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    The premise sounded so interesting to me but alas, I just didn't like this book. It was too long. She adds minutiae details for her childhood, yet when it gets to her 20's, it is spotty & rushed w/some details left out. She touches on her previous book "Model" which is in direct conflict to things mentioned in that book. I also wanted some more closure info at the end on some of the people in her life. And I felt no empathy for her family. I mean, ok, Harbhajan/Cheryl was an innocent victim so yo The premise sounded so interesting to me but alas, I just didn't like this book. It was too long. She adds minutiae details for her childhood, yet when it gets to her 20's, it is spotty & rushed w/some details left out. She touches on her previous book "Model" which is in direct conflict to things mentioned in that book. I also wanted some more closure info at the end on some of the people in her life. And I felt no empathy for her family. I mean, ok, Harbhajan/Cheryl was an innocent victim so you do feel bad for her. But to be honest, I didn't feel that way until towards the end. Her father was insane. Her mom had issues. Her siblings were severely disturbed. And a lot of the details seemed just so unbelievable & bizarre. For exs., they were supposed to be staying under the radar yet they stuck out in their "uniqueness" as well as their father wanting them to be Olympic athletes & models. I will say that I'm glad she was able to make peace with some of her relatives. She was also able to start resolving her issues such as her illness, feelings & childhood. I did learn some interesting facts. For exs., if she had gone to an embassy as a minor, she wouldn't have been held accountable for her parents actions. But as they used false ID's on her birth certificate, she technically didn't exist. I didn't realize that was a thing. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Hayward Pérez

    ***TRIGGER WARNING: SOME TOUGH SCENES AND PARTS.*** Cheryl/Crystal/Bhajan/Harbhajan has moved from place to place from a young age. It is the title of Nowhere Girl that got me interested in the book. I thought "I wonder why she feels like Nowhere Girl, I want to find out!" The synopsis of the book is just as gripping as the book itself. I was swept up by the journey and I really felt part of it. Cheryl's attention to detail is amazing and I felt the feelings she did as if I were there. The memoir ***TRIGGER WARNING: SOME TOUGH SCENES AND PARTS.*** Cheryl/Crystal/Bhajan/Harbhajan has moved from place to place from a young age. It is the title of Nowhere Girl that got me interested in the book. I thought "I wonder why she feels like Nowhere Girl, I want to find out!" The synopsis of the book is just as gripping as the book itself. I was swept up by the journey and I really felt part of it. Cheryl's attention to detail is amazing and I felt the feelings she did as if I were there. The memoir is so immersive, I loved it. I really got an idea of the sights and sounds of each place. Through Nowhere Girl, a memoir of a Fugitive Childhood, you will feel fear, curiosity and everything in between. The writing style compelled me to want more and more and I sped through it. Having to change identities at all times and obey the rules, the family and Cheryl and her brothers and sisters, Frank and Chiara, live a life of risks, new experiences and having to stick together. There are conflicts too, and some very hard parts. The conflict between Chiara and Frank is especially deep-rooted and tough. The memoir begs the question: do you really know your family? I have not reviewed The Glass Castle or Educated and am curious to. I have been before I knew this novel is compared to them. Thanks to Cheryl Diamond and Algonquin Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kasia

    I found this compelling at first, but as things go on there are a lot of things that seem really inconsistent and not believable. Made me really curious what fact-checking they were able to do with this story, especially when I read that her previous memoir, Model, apparently contradicts this one. I would say the parts when she is a child are more engrossing than the portions when she is older. There is a lot of detail in the childhood portion but it gets sparse and jumps around as she gets olde I found this compelling at first, but as things go on there are a lot of things that seem really inconsistent and not believable. Made me really curious what fact-checking they were able to do with this story, especially when I read that her previous memoir, Model, apparently contradicts this one. I would say the parts when she is a child are more engrossing than the portions when she is older. There is a lot of detail in the childhood portion but it gets sparse and jumps around as she gets older. The ways the hardship/illness/abuse just piles on more and more even when the character finally shows some agency just gets to be frustrating.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Majkut

    I wanted to like this book, as I typically enjoy a tragic memoir. The premise sounded adventurous. I disliked every character in this book. Every last one of them. The horrible father punched his eldest daughter with a closed fist IN THE FACE on several occasions until her face and mouth were bleeding as well as stabbed her in the leg repeatedly with a pen while they were sitting in a car - all for her perceived lack of loyalty to Him. The mother silently models a sympathetic and quiet endurance I wanted to like this book, as I typically enjoy a tragic memoir. The premise sounded adventurous. I disliked every character in this book. Every last one of them. The horrible father punched his eldest daughter with a closed fist IN THE FACE on several occasions until her face and mouth were bleeding as well as stabbed her in the leg repeatedly with a pen while they were sitting in a car - all for her perceived lack of loyalty to Him. The mother silently models a sympathetic and quiet endurance of the husband's abuse and paranoia while the older brother molests the main character. No one has any redeeming qualities. Even the main character has Stockholm Syndrome until the last 10 pages or so. The grandiosity of the father is maddening and he consistently is a gaslighting jerk throughout.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Lauer

    This book is reminiscent of The Glass Castle, in that it's the story of a young girl growing up in unusual circumstances with a charismatic and megalomaniacal father. She lived through some fascinating adventures as well as some very painful misadventures. Driven to be exceptional, in part by her parents and in part by her innate personality, she was a high achiever, despite the chaos in her home life. It was interesting to read her story and see how she came to terms with it as she tried to mov This book is reminiscent of The Glass Castle, in that it's the story of a young girl growing up in unusual circumstances with a charismatic and megalomaniacal father. She lived through some fascinating adventures as well as some very painful misadventures. Driven to be exceptional, in part by her parents and in part by her innate personality, she was a high achiever, despite the chaos in her home life. It was interesting to read her story and see how she came to terms with it as she tried to move into independence and adulthood. Would recommend. 3.5 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    4.5🌟 What a wild ride this book is! Imagine being born into a family of outlaws fleeing international law, being constantly on the run, changing identities and moving from different continents and countries, never being able to stay anywhere long enough to make friends, living a giant lie. Sounds insane right?! I was utterly facinated by this coming of age story that I flew right through this book. Beautifully written, Diamond's strength and resilience was so empowering. What she lived through an 4.5🌟 What a wild ride this book is! Imagine being born into a family of outlaws fleeing international law, being constantly on the run, changing identities and moving from different continents and countries, never being able to stay anywhere long enough to make friends, living a giant lie. Sounds insane right?! I was utterly facinated by this coming of age story that I flew right through this book. Beautifully written, Diamond's strength and resilience was so empowering. What she lived through and still came out the other side was mindblowing! If you enjoyed memoirs like The Glass Castle and Educated definitely check this one out! Thanks to @thomasallenltd for sending me this ARC, opinions are my own. • For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

  13. 4 out of 5

    KC

    Imagine the life of living around the world; India, New Zealand, Brazil, New York. Imagine living your life on the run from Interpol; aliases, shop lifting, forged documents. Now imagine you are a child. Author Cheryl Diamond reveals the true nature of her past, the relationships with her parents, siblings, and maternal grandparents, and her deep desire to be normal.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Adams

    I'm not allowed to quote this book (I received an ARC), but I'd really like to. Cheryl Diamond's voice is clear, strong, and intensely readable. Here, she recounts a childhood on the lam with a fugitive family, and the struggle of building her adult identity after have forged so many that are false. A true page-turner. Perfect for a summer read as it briefly lands on a number of continents. I couldn't recommend this more. I'm not allowed to quote this book (I received an ARC), but I'd really like to. Cheryl Diamond's voice is clear, strong, and intensely readable. Here, she recounts a childhood on the lam with a fugitive family, and the struggle of building her adult identity after have forged so many that are false. A true page-turner. Perfect for a summer read as it briefly lands on a number of continents. I couldn't recommend this more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    CW: incest, child sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse This read like fiction, which, when it comes to a memoir or true crime, is a good thing (in my opinion). Because the story is important and deeply personal and using language and style to make it more readable is exactly the way to keep your audience engaged, even as things get bleaker and bleaker. Diamond writes with the clear naivete of someone whose entire lived experience has been the horror within these pages, even CW: incest, child sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse This read like fiction, which, when it comes to a memoir or true crime, is a good thing (in my opinion). Because the story is important and deeply personal and using language and style to make it more readable is exactly the way to keep your audience engaged, even as things get bleaker and bleaker. Diamond writes with the clear naivete of someone whose entire lived experience has been the horror within these pages, even though we know that, by the time this book was written, she is no longer contained within that mindset or the situations described. And there's so much attention brought to the iron-fisted control her father had on the family that even without coming out and saying "this is wrong" as we see the events unfold, we know that it is. Ever since reading Bad Blood and My Friend Anna, con artists have fascinated me. But in both of those books, we see it from the outside. With NOWHERE GIRL, Diamond draws back the curtain and invites us inside. There's the normalization of packing up and moving your entire life with no notice, changing names and memorizing a new backstory even as a child, training for sports at the junior Olympic level all around the world (and at great expense), manufactured competition between siblings, not being able to keep in touch with anyone from a place you've left, having no roots (either personal or legal), working oneself into terminal illness for the sake of one's abuser. And all of it while being a child and totally beholden to one's parents. I will say I wish there was more unpacking of the psychological consequences this lifestyle. I assume that Diamond has, by now, gone through fairly extensive therapy, and having some of that insight, at least at the end, would have really hammered all of this home. {Thank you Algonquin Books for the ARC and finished copy in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sammi

    3.5 “What if you were born on the run?” Did someone say non-fiction that reads like fiction? Because that is what you’ll find in “Nowhere Girl”: a memoir of a one-of-a-kind, not-necessarily-healthy childhood reminiscent of “Educated” & “The Glass Castle”. Cheryl/Crystal/Bhajan/Harbhajan tells the true story of her childhood - growing up in a family of fugitive outlaws constantly on the run, expecting nothing less than absolute discretion & perfection. This book was such a quick read, I was immedia 3.5 “What if you were born on the run?” Did someone say non-fiction that reads like fiction? Because that is what you’ll find in “Nowhere Girl”: a memoir of a one-of-a-kind, not-necessarily-healthy childhood reminiscent of “Educated” & “The Glass Castle”. Cheryl/Crystal/Bhajan/Harbhajan tells the true story of her childhood - growing up in a family of fugitive outlaws constantly on the run, expecting nothing less than absolute discretion & perfection. This book was such a quick read, I was immediately captivated and the first 200 ish pages flew by lightning speed. I won’t lie the last 100 or so pages were slower and it lost my interest a bit. I was astonished by Cheryls life and the situations she was put in (& I still have questions!). I won’t lie, the reasoning of why they’re on the run was really anticlimactic and made all of their decisions seem really effing dramatic!! (. ++++ they went on the run to prevent x but their life on the road still caused x ?!?!). Does she have a bit of an ego? Yes… but it didn’t quite bother me until towards the end. Regardless this book was SO unique and captivating it was well worth the read! Trigger warnings: violence, assault, sexual assault, gaslighting, disordered eating (& probably some more I am missing) I also want to shout or the book jacket designer Christopher Moisan because I am obsessed with the texturing and design particularly on the back cover. Thank you to my friends at Algonquin for this gifted copy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    A fascinating memoir that reads like an unbelievable suspense movie.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracie Gutknecht

    Non-fiction. Memoir Cheryl Diamond and her family spent their lives on the run. Moving from country to country and switching identities as often as some people get haircuts. One of her first memories is hurtling down the himalayas in a car whose brakes go out. Her life was one of deception often by members of her own family. They spent almost every year in a different country with a different name. Yet, Cheryl and her brother both were accomplished athletes almost making the Olympics. Cheryl was Non-fiction. Memoir Cheryl Diamond and her family spent their lives on the run. Moving from country to country and switching identities as often as some people get haircuts. One of her first memories is hurtling down the himalayas in a car whose brakes go out. Her life was one of deception often by members of her own family. They spent almost every year in a different country with a different name. Yet, Cheryl and her brother both were accomplished athletes almost making the Olympics. Cheryl was also a successful model and published her first book at 19. But who was she? Who were the people she lived her life with? What was the big family secret? Her story isn't an easy one, but it sure was fascinating. Thank you to Swampfox Books for my ARC of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mallory (onmalsshelf) Bartel

    Thank you to Algonquin Books, NetGalley, and Cheryl Diamond for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. One of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read. I’m still in awe. More of a review to come, but until then - if you like memoirs, pick this one up! I stayed up until after midnight to finish it because I was sucked into Cheryl's story and I don't do that often for memoirs. Just a warning to those who need to know triggers before picking up a memoir - there are some triggering events in Cheryl's Thank you to Algonquin Books, NetGalley, and Cheryl Diamond for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. One of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read. I’m still in awe. More of a review to come, but until then - if you like memoirs, pick this one up! I stayed up until after midnight to finish it because I was sucked into Cheryl's story and I don't do that often for memoirs. Just a warning to those who need to know triggers before picking up a memoir - there are some triggering events in Cheryl's life - sexual assault on a child, Stockholm syndrome (not outwardly defined but the signs are there), and domestic abuse. This certainly isn't an easy or digestible memoir. There are parts that almost seem like fiction (and apparently some other reviewers think that this is a complete work of fiction posing as a memoir). Cheryl's life hasn't been easy. She was born into family on the run. They moved sometimes every few months or every few years. Suddenly her dad would just say that had to leave and they would leave in the middle of the night. She was told that they were on the run from Interpol - but is that really true? What really happened when her parents met and what followed after?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The premise of this book is a girl whose parents are on the run. Every chapter begins with a location and age. Sometimes the family remains in the same location or sometimes the main character is the same age. I don’t dispute that the author has a way with words, but the things that happen in this story are quite outlandish and depressing. The family is dysfunctional, many characters suffer from depression, manic episodes, violent tendencies and one is a child molester. I finished the book becau The premise of this book is a girl whose parents are on the run. Every chapter begins with a location and age. Sometimes the family remains in the same location or sometimes the main character is the same age. I don’t dispute that the author has a way with words, but the things that happen in this story are quite outlandish and depressing. The family is dysfunctional, many characters suffer from depression, manic episodes, violent tendencies and one is a child molester. I finished the book because I wanted to see if she had a happy ending, but ultimately the story meandered and was so extreme it was really hard to fathom, and the characters were just not interesting or likable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I guess this is technically a memoir, but she writes out these very fictionalized conversations. I also feel like there could have been more reflection on what was happening here.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jquick99

    This seemed like one long bitch session about her dad. I don’t know why her unhappy adult siblings stayed as long as they did. To me, there were few interesting On The Run stories. I was bored. Had to skip to the end where there was too much minutea about her trying to get her passport.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Oh MAN is this riveting. Totally blew right through this on audio on a road trip. It's perfect for a long drive as I was hooked the whole way through. Oh MAN is this riveting. Totally blew right through this on audio on a road trip. It's perfect for a long drive as I was hooked the whole way through.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Martella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This one didn't really resonate with me. I feel like the ending was disingenuous -- she knows herself at 30? Lol! -- and ambiguous. I think Chiara and her father killed Frank, but she never mentions it again, other than to say she misses him. We never find out why her mother isn't being persecuted for all of the crimes, yet it's so difficult for her to get documentation. Her grandfather really did all of that for that many years, into his 90s? Why? He didn't even seem that excited to see them. W This one didn't really resonate with me. I feel like the ending was disingenuous -- she knows herself at 30? Lol! -- and ambiguous. I think Chiara and her father killed Frank, but she never mentions it again, other than to say she misses him. We never find out why her mother isn't being persecuted for all of the crimes, yet it's so difficult for her to get documentation. Her grandfather really did all of that for that many years, into his 90s? Why? He didn't even seem that excited to see them. What happened to Chiara after the fight in the Carolinas? The "facts" in this story seem suspicious. Also, there was a lot of boring exposition about being super athletes as children but not enough answers. Ultimately, I was frustrated.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    nope

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    So I’m going to play on the fence with this one. This is, “when fake it til you make it” goes wrong. This book was WILD! Born into a family, a decade into being, international outlaws; the book starts off at a rapid pace. We are quite literally in the middle of a horrific car scene, where a family of 5 are careening down the Himalayan mountains without any breaks. This is the story of a young girl, who’s earliest memories are around 4 or 5, that is documenting her life in chronological age, as sh So I’m going to play on the fence with this one. This is, “when fake it til you make it” goes wrong. This book was WILD! Born into a family, a decade into being, international outlaws; the book starts off at a rapid pace. We are quite literally in the middle of a horrific car scene, where a family of 5 are careening down the Himalayan mountains without any breaks. This is the story of a young girl, who’s earliest memories are around 4 or 5, that is documenting her life in chronological age, as she recounts her life on the run as outlaws with her parents. The story is truly mesmerizing and engaging, full of action and drama, and suspense. I was fully drawn in by her story, that I couldn’t put the book down. Learning about her family, living life on pure cash, fleeing country to country, and pushing life to the very edge in order to evade authorities. There is a lot to unpack here in this story, however. Her father, a megalomaniac, who physically and emotionally abuses them, pushes them all to be the best of themselves at all things, but deprives them of emotional support, is forcefully urging his family to run from authorities for nearly 3 decades. We see this family’s story being told from the youngest child’s perspective, Harbajan, starting with her first memory at age 4. Told in chronological order, we see her harrowing life in a family on the run, and the several escapades and situations that come upon them as they live through the 80s, 90’s, and early 2000’s. Topics to discuss: - Megalomania - Emotional abuse - Physical abuse - Sexual abuse - Mental illness - Generational trauma - Helicopter/Detached parenting - Lack of stability Diamond (not her real name obviously) gives us front-row access to the behind the scenes of her parents’ illegal operation. We are literally hand in hand with her on this entire journey. Excited, scared, bewildered, and shocked right along with her as we read this visceral account of her childhood. Yet, as I was nearing the end of the book, a thought dawned on me. What if this memoir is a con? She has been taught directly how to con people for a living. Seeing that she was in financial distress, this book could all be a con? These stories she tells us in chronological order could all be a scam, and we’re all being scammed? Her story is unbelievable. Straight from the movies, unbelievable. If this is true, she has had one heck of a life. However, her credibility is definitely in question seeing how she has professionally been able to keep up a lie for the majority of her life. They’re lives were very extravagant, strict, and orderly despite the abruptness and spontaneity that they lived on. She has impeccable memory, from these small details at the age of 4 up until her mid/late-20s. It’s hard to believe that this family of 5 lived via cash only through the 80s and 90s evading the law. If this is all true, this is an amazing journey that shows a side of humanity we don’t get to see too often. However, this exciting lifestyle, though it may seem, is very sad. Diamond and her siblings never see stability in their childhood. They are prohibited from being normal in any sense of the word, and they are constantly on edge from having to lie and fake it through everything in their lives. The cost of having to leave people, things, memories, lives, etc. constantly weighs on them all, until it hits a breaking point. Where do you go when you can’t go anywhere? This is the life of Cheryl Diamond. Would recommend, 4 stars. Thank you to Algonquin Books and Cheryl Diamond for this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cassidee Lanstra

    It’s blog tour day for Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond! Thank you to Algonquin for having me and sending me copies of this wonderful memoir. I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last. Memoirs can be a tricky thing to rate, because it can feel like you’re putting a rating on someone’s personal experiences. I find that most memoirs that I pick up, I really enjoy. There’s nothing quite like looking into another person’s life, especially when their life has been quite out of the ordinary. Th It’s blog tour day for Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond! Thank you to Algonquin for having me and sending me copies of this wonderful memoir. I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last. Memoirs can be a tricky thing to rate, because it can feel like you’re putting a rating on someone’s personal experiences. I find that most memoirs that I pick up, I really enjoy. There’s nothing quite like looking into another person’s life, especially when their life has been quite out of the ordinary. There’s a few things that make a memoir great to me and a huge one is vivid storytelling. I like when you get a sense of that personal inner voice and we absolutely get that with Nowhere Girl. We follow Cheryl into adulthood from childhood. We watch her evolution from a mature, overachieving, loyal child to a grown woman reeling from the trauma she didn’t realize she was experiencing as kid. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in the book and she tells it in a way that keeps us wanting to read more. Trigger warnings for molestation by a family member, familial abuse, intense manipulation and gas-lighting. The writing is well done; intelligent and expertly crafted. There was never a boring passage or moment that I glazed over. Cheryl lives a life by many names but it’s truly empowering to see her journey from young Harbhajan to the woman she is today. She lives with a father whose motives are all selfish but as a child, he’s her hero. She sees a man on the run from Interpol at no fault of his own, though as she gets older, the layers are pulled back. Like most children, she realizes her parents aren’t perfect, that they’re actually very flawed people. Though her situation is extreme, many can relate to the moment that you shed the childlike mentality of blissful ignorance and realize that life isn’t as stable and idyllic as you once thought. She comes to a moment of reckoning; her father stole years of stability, stole from her a place to call home. She literally has no legal home country, as her parents used fake names on her birth certificate and have spent years running around the world on forged passports. Does she go to court to try to fight for a place in the world? Is this a betrayal to her father? Will she be exiled to a country where she doesn’t know a soul, doesn’t know the language? Will she ever have a life to call her own? Nowhere Girl is one of those books that would make an excellent movie because it’s almost unbelievable that someone went through this. It’s truly awe-inspiring that Cheryl is able to write and tell us of all these hardships that she faced with her family. She’s someone who has lived through the unthinkable and somehow keeps rising, keeps finding new ways to succeed. This is a breathtaking, honest, witty memoir and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    Nowhere Girl is a fascinating memoir written by Cheryl Diamond, who led her childhood on the run with her parents and two older siblings. The memoir follows her childhood and young adulthood, led through more than a dozen countries. The book begins with Diamond at age 4 in India, and as her age advances, so does her understanding of her family’s dynamics and why they are constantly moving, often with little to no warning. She understands her family is on the run and using false documents, but fr Nowhere Girl is a fascinating memoir written by Cheryl Diamond, who led her childhood on the run with her parents and two older siblings. The memoir follows her childhood and young adulthood, led through more than a dozen countries. The book begins with Diamond at age 4 in India, and as her age advances, so does her understanding of her family’s dynamics and why they are constantly moving, often with little to no warning. She understands her family is on the run and using false documents, but from who? What are they running from and how do they have seemingly unlimited money? I loved how these answers are slowly teased out, and as Diamond ages, the focus becomes clearer and we understand why her family is running and the intricacies of the family’s relationships. The most prominent character in their life, is her simultaneously charming and mercurial narcissistic father, who controls all aspects of their lives. He has lofty expectations and is rarely satisfied. This leads to sometimes contradictory decisions, despite their need to stay hidden below the radar, he pushes all his children to achieve excellence in sports like gymnastics or swimming with the goal of reaching the Olympics. With the necessity to stay hidden, their family is isolated from others, which seems to make abuse almost inevitable with no obvious way to ask for help. Though the behavior of her family could be incredibly maddening, the story was so intriguing and I just wanted to know what would happen and if she would be able to separate from her family. Diamond considers heavy questions like how do you forgive your family and can you repair dysfunctional relationships? Though some questions about her family members are left unanswered, the memoir ends on an optimistic, pensive note. I read the book and listened to the audiobook, which is fantastically narrated by Eileen Stevens. Thank you Algonquin Books for this ARC.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christina Mortellaro

    I had a tough time figuring out what I wanted to rate this. On one hand, I considered not finishing it until I got 1/3 into the book. It was because I found the beginning pretty unbelievable as most people cannot recall details from when you're 4 or 5 years old. I understand that all memoirs can take liberties when it comes to dialogue or composite characters but it just felt too fictionalized at the start. Also... what happened to that major character? It's written about in such a roundabout wa I had a tough time figuring out what I wanted to rate this. On one hand, I considered not finishing it until I got 1/3 into the book. It was because I found the beginning pretty unbelievable as most people cannot recall details from when you're 4 or 5 years old. I understand that all memoirs can take liberties when it comes to dialogue or composite characters but it just felt too fictionalized at the start. Also... what happened to that major character? It's written about in such a roundabout way that one can't tell if they're dead (or was killed) or just not part of the family. Nevertheless, the book was suspenseful and I found myself constantly wondering what would happen next and how everything would (or if it would) resolve.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Francis M. Torres

    Imagine being raised as an outlaw, constantly changing names, running in the middle of the nights to different countries, having a new backstory, not being able to make friends, that’s crazy!! Harbhajan/Cheryls life was wild, being constantly on the run, and difficult siblings, and then finding out her parents true identities and their secrets. The thing I love most about this book is Cheryls courage, even after everything that has happened she doesn’t hate her parents or the life she led, this Imagine being raised as an outlaw, constantly changing names, running in the middle of the nights to different countries, having a new backstory, not being able to make friends, that’s crazy!! Harbhajan/Cheryls life was wild, being constantly on the run, and difficult siblings, and then finding out her parents true identities and their secrets. The thing I love most about this book is Cheryls courage, even after everything that has happened she doesn’t hate her parents or the life she led, this was just a lesson to be learned, and that’s empowering. Thanks Netgalley and the publishers for sending me an actual book, I will be reading this book again for sure.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

hi
Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.