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 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, 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.
The survivor of extreme psychological and physical abuse, Diamond recounts her lifelong struggle to discover her true self in a beyond-harrowing memoir. Within the autobiographical subset of children-overcoming-adversity that was defined by Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle (2005) and Tara Westover’s Educated (2018), Diamond’s tale might just be the most mind-blowing of them all.
Diamond (Model: A Memoir) describes the incredible story of her childhood spent on the run ... Diamond’s memoir is compulsively readable; for fans of suspense novels or memoirs like Tyler Wetherall’s No Way Home.
Like Tara Westover’s Educated, Cheryl Diamond’s memoir tells the harrowing story of how crippling a childhood can be under the despotic narcissistic rule of a controlling father ... There comes a point in the family’s travels when the father decides his family should become Jewish ... Diamond, sadly, doesn’t bring to bear any adult wisdom to her descriptions of this, as she does in other instances of her father’s bad choices ... This is a big flaw in the book, especially now, as anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise ... Still, Diamond has a powerful story to tell, and she tells it well, creating strong characters and settings ... Diamond’s story is one of the family as oppressive, controlling cult ... Diamond raises as many questions as she answers, as the best books do.