by Sonia Francis (Freehold NJ): “Like an archeologist desperately excavating a foreign world, I want to bring the details of my nomadic upbringing to life before it is lost forever “. ” I don’t want the library of my past to die with me”. How lucky for readers like me to have someone like Shugri Said Salh who poignantly tells her story growing up a nomad in the desert of the East African country, Somalia. Shugri has narrated a clear eye unflinching account of her life as a young girl at 6 years old , when she was sent to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert. Such imagery of the landscape; livestock, and how camels are used to go from place to place to find greener pastures, to find water and food. I love the way Somali terms are used in a sentence while at the same time explaining the meaning. Words like “Jilal”- At the end of Jilal, the long and dry season. This style of writing made it very easy to explore and comprehend Somali culture effortlessly. Words like eeidio (auntie),devotee (waadad) mother (ayaeyo) to name a few. Religion, clans, female circumcisions were some of the cultural aspects explored in this coming of age novel. The Somali proverbs at the beginning of the chapters was a clever harbinger. “Oh lord, sad is the soul that leaves its native land”. This chapter further went on to show events about one fleeing their homeland due to war, albeit a civil war, where friends, neighbors turn on each other all in the name of protecting ones clan. The most disturbing part of the book for me was what adolescent girls must endure in the most brutal unhygienic, primitive medical way called female circumcision and the scar literally and figuratively it left on young girls including the author herself. Knowing Salh’s story makes me want to know more about the strength, tenacity and resilience of Somali women. This book is indeed an eye opener. I have Salhs’ grandmother to thank for having her granddaughter inherit the gift of storytelling and pass it on to readers. This is a stunning read- raw and authentic.