Cover Image: Nowhere Girl

Nowhere Girl

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Member Reviews

This is a memoir about the coming of age of the author in a family whose lifestyle was to wild to say the least. This family were nomadic in their way of life and this of course, was very unsettling for children who are seeking some normalcy and stability. On the other hand, there is never a dull moment either. I found this to be an interesting and amazing story, with events that leave you as the reader wondering how much is true and how much is an adult recalling their childhood events in a more fantastical way. Either way, it makes for a page turning read about a unique lifestyle and how a child navigates those waters.
 #NowhereGirl #NetGalley #AlgonquinBooks
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A really good memoir with an even more interesting premise. Really, the fact that this is a memoir is so crazy because Diamond's upbringing is not like anything you'll see. It is deeply captivating and will have your mind spinning at this crazy life. Definitely recommend for anyone who loves memoirs and hearing other's life stories.
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This is a memoir and coming of age story for a girl who was made to live life on the run. What a roller coaster of a read!
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I’m not sure how much of this memoir actually happened and there are some super triggering scenes involving abuse and gaslighting. But I couldn’t take my mind off this book and it held my attention throughout.
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Sorry to say this one was a disappointment. The summary sounded great but it just didn't land with me. The beginning of the book was fairly interesting but it really fell apart towards the end of the book.
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The author, Cheryl Diamond, is stateless after surviving a childhood with a father who has ripped entire sections out of the DSM. Her father is the star in his own personal play, and everyone else is a set piece. It become apparent at after awhile, Cheryl isn’t sure what reality is, and what is her father’s machination.  Her freedoms comes, but at a high cost—she’s stateless and many want her to pay for her parent’s transgression.. a totally gripping real-life story.
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This was such a wild ride. I still can’t believe people actually live like this. I’m glad the author managed to get away from her father and live to tell this story. The writing was really good and the story kept my attention throughout. I would definitely recommend this to friends.
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Memoirs are such a beautiful way to walk along someone's life.  They can teach us so much and can open our eyes to how someone else's life can be so incredibly different from our own.  I definitely felt intrigued by this memoir and felt it to be a really compelling read for the most part, but at other times, I felt it was dragging a bit and I would get frustrated with her voice.  I was uncomfortable a lot of the time, but I think this is also what made it a good read and a well-written narrative.  I did not love this book, but it will stay with me for a long time.
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What a life; what a story! The author has truly lived an unbelievable life in her first 30 years. I am eager to know what became of the rest of her family, but I am glad she made it through to survive. This book is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and I’m sure the story will stay with me for a long time. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Algonquin Books and Cheryl Diamond for the gifted copies in exchange for an honest review.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?
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Nowhere Girl by Cheryl Diamond is a captivating memoir that will likely interest fans of books like Educated and The Glass Castle. It kept me up reading way past my bedtime. 

Diamond’s story of her childhood on the run and her evolving awareness of her family’s atypical relationship with the law really pulled me in. It’s not an easy story, as a life like Diamond’s has trauma. It’s also a story of resilience.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.
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Cheryl Diamond tells the story of living on the run with her family as it slowly dwindles.  From joy and discovery to trauma, abuse and killing, Diamond is trying to move forward with life.  Does she have to pay for the crimes of her parents, shouldn't her parents pay for their crimes?  What does a person do if they have no documents, no place to belong?  This memoir reminded me a bit of Cheryl Strayed's Wild, but with an international flair.
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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.
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Wowza, you guys! This book! Diamond takes us through a wild ride, that feels absolutely insane and impossibly true. Having gone through so many identities, and often no proof she even existed, she became a girl from nowhere. But through this memoir, Diamond gives us a story of heartbreak, survival as well as self discovery, and ultimately the story of someone who overcame a childhood that anyone would struggle to make it out of.

The story begins when Cheryl is four years old in India. It continues through childhood and adulthood. The chapters are based on age and location, which make a book with a lot of shifting dynamics easier to follow as it flows through time chronologically. The chapters are short, which I like. And it is insanely readable.
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By the age of nine, Cheryl/Crystal/Harbhajan (all the same person!) lived in more than a dozen countries, five continents, under six assumed identities. She knows how forge document, withstand an interrogation and disappear with zero notice. This story about a girl, born into a family of con artists, constantly on the move (from what, or who?) is surprising, heartbreaking and unfathomable. How can someone grow up not completely positive that they know who they truly are?

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. Her father, a master financial criminal, or so she believes, uproots the family at the slightest sign of suspicion.
As she learn how to forge identity papers and fix a car with chicken wire, she becomes a near-Olympic-level athlete and then an international teenage model. She publishes a book about it. As she grows older, though, things get darker. Her identity is burned, leaving her with no past, no proof that she exists, and her family 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.
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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
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Thanks to Algonquin and Netgalley for the early copy of this in exchange for a review. 

This is a really interesting premise- a girl that had been part of a family that constantly ran from the law, traveling the world and changing identities. 

I enjoyed parts of this but other parts dragged on or were hard to follow. This could’ve used more editing.
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“Because our beginning, our first reality, is not our destiny. It’s not always who we’re meant to become. It’s simply other people’s idea of who we should be.”

Thank you to @algonquinbooks for the ARC of this absolutely fantastic book! Swipe for a synopsis.

The story of how Cheryl Diamond (aka Harbhajan) grew up is a wild one. One that may truly come off as downright unbelievable. But once I finished this book, the most unbelievable thing was how incredibly strong and resilient Diamond is after growing up in such unusual and difficult circumstances.

I don’t normally love memoirs because I tend to find them kind of boring, but this one is anything but. Diamond’s story is fascinating and her writing is beautiful and vivid. Throughout this book I found myself smiling with, wanting to hug, and cheering for Diamond on many occasions. It was so inspiring to read as she grew from a child who is controlled by her father, and turns his expectations of her on their head and fights to free herself and live a normal life.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, but if you enjoyed The Glass Castle or Educated, you would especially love this beautiful book.

Tw: physical, emotional and sexual abuse, incest, gaslighting, diet culture, weight loss and disordered eating, chronic illness
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I was reminded of Educated by Tara Westover as I read this book, for the father who manipulated and dominated his family and for the family who seemed lost and helpless in the face of the father’s rage.  The author ends on a high note, reminding us of the power and redemption in forgiveness.  Highly recommend.
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The truth of Nowhere Girl, memoir by model and author Cheryl Diamond, is stranger than fiction. The answer to the "why" of her on-the-run childhood seems to be the fulcrum of the book. Before comes the childhood with the idealism of childhood but the darkness of abuse. After, although still a child, the book jumps to the emergence into adulthood. What stands out throughout the book is the fractured relationships of this family.

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher's blog tour.
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