Malika Oufkir grew up the daughter of an important advisor to the King of Morocco. Her father's relationship with the King is so close that the King adopts Malika as a young child. While Malika enjoys spending time in the castle and being with the King's daughter, she longs for her family and eventually moves back in with them.
These times, however, were troublesome for Morocco. When Malika's dad stages a coup d'etat, he is shot multiple times and the family is taken away from their home. What results is an incredible story of imprisonment. Malika's large family (she has 6 sisters/brothers) and two friends of the family are taken and their home is immediately looted and leveled. Over the course of about 5 years they are moved to worse and worse conditions until finally, the family is split up into different cells and never let out. The living conditions are deplorable. They had little to eat and lived with rats, mice, and many insects. They stayed in this prison for over 10 years, not being able to see each other and only recognizing each other by voice, before they started to plan how to escape.
I almost stopped reading this book about 50 pages in because I found Malika's account of her earlier years to be quite boring. She provided too much detail as to royal life while I just wanted to get into the meat of what happened to her when she was imprisoned. I'm glad I stayed with it. What an amazing survival story. It's incredible that anyone could survive such conditions. I'm also surprised that Malika didn't request an audience with the King to give him a piece of her mind since she knew him so well and he seemed fond of her. I'm glad that her and her family are getting on well.
First Line: "From the living room came the strains of mambo and cha-cha music, the percussion and guitars punctuated by the arrival of the guests."