Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout
The first half of this memoir is about Amanda's childhood in Canada and her travels as a young adult. The second half deals with her horrifyingly intense kidnapping as a freelance journalist in Somalia.
Amanda's mother struggled to raise her and her two brothers on a limited income. To cope, Amanda bought National Geographics at a thrift store and dreamed about the places she'd someday visit. After high school, Amanda moves to a larger city in Alberta where her waitressing income enables her to travel. Each journey gets more exotic and far flung. Eventually she meets an Aussie named Nigel who introduces her to the world of photojournalism. On the fateful trip to Somalia, Amanda invites Nigel to come along. Together, they are held captive by young Somali fighters for 15 months.
The story is harrowing and told in detail, but it's not overly moralistic or condemning. Amanda comes to understand how her captors have become so desperate and ruthless.
I don't fully agree with Amanda's decision to go to Somalia in the first place; it's a bit naive and foolhardy. However, her bravery and skill in surviving the kidnapping left a deep impression on me.