“An absolutely breathless read. Nowhere Girl is a courageous, heart-breaking, and beautifully written story of a girl doing everything in her power to protect the ones she loves.”
—Paul Haggis, Academy Award-winning writer/director of Crash, Million Dollar Baby, and Casino Royale
By the age of nine, I will have lived in more than a dozen countries, on five continents, under six assumed identities. I’ll know how a document is forged, how to withstand an interrogation, and most important, how to disappear . . .
To the young Cheryl Diamond, life felt like one big adventure, whether she was hurtling down the Himalayas in a rickety car or mingling with underworld fixers. Her family appeared to be an unbreakable gang of five. One day they were in Australia, the next in South Africa, the pattern repeating as they crossed continents, changed identities, and erased their pasts. What Diamond didn’t yet know was that she was born into a family of outlaws fleeing from the highest international law enforcement agencies, a family with secrets that would eventually catch up to all of them.
By the time she was in her teens, Diamond had lived dozens of lives and lies, but as she grew older, love and trust turned to fear and violence, and her family—the only people she had in the world—began to unravel. She started to realize that her life itself might be a big con, and the people she loved, the most dangerous of all. With no way out and her identity burned so often that she had no proof she even existed, all that was left was a girl from nowhere.
Surviving would require her to escape, and to do so Diamond would have to unlearn all the rules she grew up with. Wild, heartbreaking, and often unexpectedly funny, Nowhere Girl is an impossible-to-believe true story of self-discovery and triumph.
Former model Diamond (Naked Rome) offers a transfixing chronicle of her coming-of-age bouncing from city to city and country to country to outrun the authorities. Her family a tight band of five comprising her parents, sister, and brother lived a life straight out of a thriller that was marked by false identities, financial schemes, deep mistrust, and a desperation to avoid Interpol officers. "By the age of nine, I will have lived in more than a dozen countries, on five continents, under six assumed identities," she writes. As her family flitted from India to South Africa to America committing forgery and fraud along the way she was taught how to survive through judo lessons and a detailed escape plan (which she was entrusted with at age 13) to use "if everything goes to hell" but she never learned her parents' real names to protect them and herself. In a propulsive, at times harrowing, narrative, Diamond recounts the tutelage of her psychologically abusive father, how she went from being homeless to a successful fashion model in New York City, and a debilitating illness that devastated her mind and body in her early 20s. Eloquent and bracing, Diamond's story will haunt readers long after the last page.