by Alek Wek
started 9/3/07 finished 9/7/07
I don't really like to read the memoirs of people under 40, because they have so much more life in front of them (with the exception of Maya Angelou, who wrote her story in a series of books). Of course I made an exception in this case because living in a war torn African country probably as 3 or 4 lifetimes in one.
By the time she was born, Alek's parents had already fled the country a couple of times to flee the conflict. As a result they were exposed to more ways of life than most of their peers and wanted to make sure that their children were educated and successful. But no amount of preparation can help you when a civil war is basically being fought closer and closer to your front door. The story of the families 2 week long trek through the jungle to the father's ancestral village is incredible and shows what humans are capable of when they want something bad enough.
In fact, that is really the theme of Alek Wek's life so far. From escaping Sudan and emigrating to London to working her way through school to forging a place for herself in an industry based on the beauty of people who don't look like her to starting her own handbag company in the name of her father. She may not be forty yet, but judging from her life so far, she will continue to stand up to whatever life throws at her and push on through.
I recommend this book to young girls as well.