Nowhere Girl: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood

Algonquin. Jun. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781616208202. $27.95. MEMOIR
Diamond (Model: A Memoir) describes the incredible story of her childhood spent on the run. Born in New Zealand, to parents and siblings who were already living under assumed identities, Diamond (using a fake birth certificate) travels with her family from India to Australia to South Africa to Canada to Germany. Her parents’ source of income is nebulous, but somehow relates to the gold bullion market. Her father, who determines the family’s trajectory, is alternately cryptic and grandiose, coldly critical and physically abusive. Diamond effectively conveys an atmosphere of psychological suspense as she begins to unravel the events that led to her parents’ fugitive status. Their lives crater in Virginia during Diamond’s teenage years. There her brother Frank, who sexually abused her, inexplicably disappears, and her sister Chiara runs away and threatens to expose the family. Diamond escapes to New York to try modeling but cannot extricate herself from her parents. She sensitively traces her diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and her life with chronic illness, along with her fraught decision to finally escape her family and claim a legal identity and citizenship.
VERDICT Diamond’s memoir is compulsively readable; for fans of suspense novels or memoirs like Tyler Wetherall’s No Way Home.
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