by Amanda Lindhout

Reviewer Rating:
5
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Review

This is one of the best books I've read in 2013. A House in the Sky is a memoir by Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who, along with her  ex-boyfriend/fellow freelance photojournalist was kidnapped in Somalia while documenting the war there. Lindhout spends the first part of the book describing her childhood and early adulthood, giving a context for how she ended up in the terrifying and brutal situation of being abducted, held for ransom, and abused for more than a year. Lindhout's storytelling abilities are impressive and had me on the edge of my seat. Her recounting of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (torture, really) she received at the hands of numerous young men was at times excruciating to read. Just when you think it couldn't possibly get worse, it does. 

I was very impressed at her ability and determination to survive this experience. She went from figuring out how to survive each day, to each hour, to simply surviving to the next breath during a particularly horrible period of torture. Even though her captors did incredibly inhumane things to her, she was able to come out of the experience alive and even learned how to eventually forgive and empathize with them. She also learned (with difficulty) how to forgive herself for ending up in the situation and putting her family and friends through the ordeal. This book shows the depravity that human beings are capable of, but it also shows the good. Lindhout now runs a nonprofit organization that encourages empowerment through education in Somalia, something she feels might have stopped her kidnappers from going down the road they chose. 

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