Ten years ago, Liyana Dhamirah was unlike any other 22-year-old girl of her age. Living in one of the richest countries in the world in utter and abject poverty came with its own challenges. Ten years ago, she had no proper food to eat, and no home to shelter herself and her unborn baby. She was poor and she was all alone.

Homeless is a haunting memoir, a true story of Liyana’s life and her journey from being a poor homeless woman to a successful entrepreneur.

Like most other girls, Liyana was a young child full of dreams and possibilities. She had high hopes for her future. In Homeless, she recalls memories of her early life, serving us impressions warm with nostalgia and comfort. But then life took a scary turn when her parents filed for divorce and they had to sell the roof over their heads. Her mother, barely making ends meet had to struggle a lot and so did Liyana.

Teenage brought its joys and sorrows and soon Liyana found her love in a man she soon got married to. Alas, her happily ever after was short-lived, for they had to frequently change houses for lack of adequate means. In the end, with her husband constantly cheating and being absent from their marriage, Liyana was rendered homeless when she was pregnant with her second child. She found herself hopeless and dejected, having found no support from anywhere – family, friends, husband, welfare groups, and the government.

Her condition was such that there remained no place that she could call her home, no place that would provide her shelter. Soon she discovered that she is not the only one in this condition. Many other poor people in Singapore were facing similar circumstances and were living in makeshift shelters in parks, secluded areas, or on the beach. Here too, frequent raids disrupted their already chaotic lives.

She battles her circumstances, trying this door or that, attempting to make things work somehow, and in the end, with the help of some empathetic journalists, manages to tell her story to the world.

The writing is candid and simple, relying not on flowy words or rich language, but on honest experiences, to share an ugly truth with the world. This book is significant because it sends an urgent message for help, it is a call for action, to eradicate poverty and ensure that the poor never again go through what Liyana has gone through in one of the world’s most affluent countries.

All of 144 pages, Homeless is a short and effortless read that can be read in a sitting or two. However, this effortlessness comes from simple writing. The subject itself is quite heavy and there may come a time when the reader feels so heavy with the burden of Liyana’s sorrows and hardships, that she may like to take a break just to detach herself from the pain that seeps from those pages.

That being said, the book isn’t only gloomy, for in the end, we do get a happy ending. In the end, despite all the challenges, Liyana manages to shine through and becomes the boss of her own company. She manages to become a successful entrepreneur and learns through life and its experiences, things that she would have never learned in school.

In addition to all of the above, this is also a tale of motherhood and aptly portrays how a woman would go to any lengths to save and nurture her children.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Homeless by Liyana Dhamirah.