Format: Paperback & Audiobook
Source: Bought & Borrowed
Narrator: Amanda Lindhout
Length: 13 hours 17 minutes
Read: May 2017
The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity—an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace.
As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.
Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives “wife lessons” from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.
Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, A House in the Sky is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity.
I didn’t actually know Amanda Lindhout’s story, though I’m sure I must have seen it on the news at some point, so this really was fascinating to listen to. I liked that it wasn’t just about Amanda’s kidnapping, but it also went into her life and what led to her actually going to Somalia to fulfill her dreams.
As someone who is a very safe traveler – that is, I prefer to go to bigger cities and stay on the grid in the few places I’ve been to – I read the first part of this book in horror. Amanda was a very naive traveler and I would think someone who read National Geographic and dreamed of traveling would at least know to follow certain customs in certain places. I loved her can-do attitude but I honestly would’ve been terrified in her situation. While her story is horrible and disturbing to read, I would like to think that most people would have more common sense when traveling and maybe be a bit more cautious – BUT you never know, even things like this can happen to the most cautious of travellers.
For all that she went through, this is a very honest and terrifying account of what can happen and it definitely made me thankful for where I live.
While Amanda was an okay narrator and it only seemed fitting that she read her own book, the narration was just okay. I felt like there wasn’t a lot of emotion conveyed in the reading and it was just that – her reading.
But don’t take my word for it … read some other reviews!
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