Title: The Girl Who Fell to Earth
Author: Sophia Al-Maria
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Memoir, Cultural
Rating: 3 out of 5
Sophia Al-Maria was raised between two worlds: the freedom of the United States and the restrictions of her father’s Bedouin family in Qatar. When she was a teenager, Sophia’s mother thought her daughter was being corrupted by American culture and sent Sophia to live with her father’s family. Growing up caught between two different cultures, Sophia experiences a difficult, but memorable, coming of age in Qatar.
I was immediately intrigued the first time I heard about The Girl Who Fell to Earth. After all, I know little about Bedouin culture and I was fascinated how an American teenager would fit into their world. The stark difference between the two worlds she inhabits is so interesting, especially considering the memoir follows her into college and beyond. The reader really gets to see Sophia grow up and see how her two backgrounds affected her and made her the person she is.
However, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed by The Girl Who Fell to Earth. Though I was definitely interested in hearing a coming-of-age story, I also wanted to learn about the Bedouins through Al-Maria’s memoir. I was eager to see her take on the role of women in the culture, as well as her thoughts on growing up in a more restrictive society. Unfortunately, this was not the case in The Girl Who Fell to Earth. It’s very much Al-Maria’s story, but it seems there isn’t a lot of contemplation or reflection within its pages. There just isn’t much detail or analytical thought; it’s as though she wrote about her life without really injecting her own commentary or thoughts into her story. While the memoir is certainly interesting, I keenly felt the lack of this depth in the book.
The Girl Who Fell to Earth does provide some tantalizing glimpses into a foreign culture. If you’re looking for a memoir that is easy to read while still giving you a taste of something different, this might be a good pick. In the end, I wanted this book to be something it wasn’t (partially my own fault), and can’t say I recommend it if you’re hoping to find what I was.