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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 Geogr 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.


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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 Geogr 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.

30 review for A House in the Sky: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I am sure I am going to get negative responses to this review but here goes. This a mediocre book at best. Yes the writing is polished but my guess is the reason for this is the co author, who writes for the New York Times Magazine. The first 140 odd pages details what a grossly naive person Amanda Lindhout is and her narcissistic belief that she can do anything. She seems to be the one of the highest grossing waitresses on the planet without taking off her clothes, and seems to think that survi I am sure I am going to get negative responses to this review but here goes. This a mediocre book at best. Yes the writing is polished but my guess is the reason for this is the co author, who writes for the New York Times Magazine. The first 140 odd pages details what a grossly naive person Amanda Lindhout is and her narcissistic belief that she can do anything. She seems to be the one of the highest grossing waitresses on the planet without taking off her clothes, and seems to think that surviving Central and South America was justification for traveling to Pakistan, Afghanistan , and unfortunately for her ultimately Somalia. All this did for me was easily predict how her reckless behavior would end up getting her in trouble. I have seen reviews stating she got what she deserved. This assessment is grossly ignorant. Nobody deserves to be raped and tortured. The problem I had with the book is the first half is boring and as I said easy to see how the second half would play out. Having traveled to Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and Mexico and Dubai, I have often encountered young travelers who think they can do anything with no repercussions. There is criticism the Canadian and Australian governments were less than effective is securing their release. I think people need to know that if you are going to go to countries that your government highly recommends that you don't, then if something happens to you it is not their job to help you. Other criticisms have pointed out that it seems like she purposely did this to get the fame of a once in a lifetime story, but ended up getting more than she bargained for, I doubt this is the case since it would be a great way to get killed! The biggest problem for me regarding this book was that after awhile I just didn't care about her or her ex boyfriend's ordeal. If she had a reason to be in Somalia like she was with the UN or a soldier, or with an NCO, I would say she was crazy to be there, but was hopefully briefed on the risks. But because she was either grossly naive and or ignorant, for me did not make this book worth the time I spent reading it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    It's impossible to read this book without it weighing heavily in your thoughts..... Amanda Lindhout, held hostage for 460 days, in Somalia, made many stupid choices: she was naïve and foolishly optimist.... yet, those same qualities about her- may have been what kept her alive!!! Amanda is a fan of Eckhart Tolle. She mentioned reading "The Power of Now" ...which reminded her of being truly present in her own life --that it can be liberating from the past and the future -- and transform one's thinki It's impossible to read this book without it weighing heavily in your thoughts..... Amanda Lindhout, held hostage for 460 days, in Somalia, made many stupid choices: she was naïve and foolishly optimist.... yet, those same qualities about her- may have been what kept her alive!!! Amanda is a fan of Eckhart Tolle. She mentioned reading "The Power of Now" ...which reminded her of being truly present in her own life --that it can be liberating from the past and the future -- and transform one's thinking. What Amanda went through was HELL. No matter what dumb mistakes she made - nobody should go through what she did!!!! Yet - Ms. Amanda Lindhout ...( her friend Nigel called her 'Trout')....bless her heart & soul if she didn't put to practice the skills of Eckart Tolle -when she needed them most: ..... to survive - with a sound mind. Eckhart Tolle says: "Intense presence is needed when certain situations trigger a reaction with a strong emotional charge". That's just what Amanda did: SHE WAS INTENSELY PRESENCE to a 'horrific' emotional charge. NOT EASY TO DO.....she had to have already been practicing 'Be here now' for some time....to stay calm -and be active in her thinking about surviving. This story is important-- Highly recommended if there are still readers left who have 'not' read this book. It's a real page turner, too!!! I traveled the Middle East at age 19. I, too, was young and foolish and made some dumb choices -- the only difference is I got lucky. My daughters got the death of fear put into them from me... THEY WOULD NEVER DO WHAT I DID. ( I'd chain them myself before I'd let them go to Somalia alone). Young adult women with a 'travel-bug' - who wants to go alone -- to any third world country --READ THIS BOOK FIRST!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Impossible to put down, and easily one of the bravest, most harrowing, and most inspiring memoirs you'll ever read. What Amanda went through during her 15 months of captivity in Somalia is about as close to hell on earth as anyone could get, and her story is at once many things: a remembrance of transcended origins and of lust for travel; a page-turning, ripped-from-the-headlines chronicle of a young woman's kidnapping; a portrait of the tragedy of religious fundamentalism and failed statehood a Impossible to put down, and easily one of the bravest, most harrowing, and most inspiring memoirs you'll ever read. What Amanda went through during her 15 months of captivity in Somalia is about as close to hell on earth as anyone could get, and her story is at once many things: a remembrance of transcended origins and of lust for travel; a page-turning, ripped-from-the-headlines chronicle of a young woman's kidnapping; a portrait of the tragedy of religious fundamentalism and failed statehood and the astonishing inhumanity that they can ignite in men (and I do mean in men--not women). But more than anything, it's an unbelievably moving account of faith in one's self, how hope can save a life when all reasons to live have been obliterated, and how forgiveness and compassion are miraculously possible after unimaginable trauma.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Masterson

    This was another brutal book experience of 2017! I'm exhausted! I'm late to the party so there isn't much to add that hasn't been said. This is being made into a movie starring Rooney Mara so there is that. I think she's a good pic to play Amanda Lindhout. Thank you to Mark for recommending this book and for getting me an audio copy! ❤️ This was another brutal book experience of 2017! I'm exhausted! I'm late to the party so there isn't much to add that hasn't been said. This is being made into a movie starring Rooney Mara so there is that. I think she's a good pic to play Amanda Lindhout. Thank you to Mark for recommending this book and for getting me an audio copy! ❤️

  5. 5 out of 5

    David V.

    Man, I don't know what to say about this one. I'd received it as an ARC from the publisher. Read it in just a few days. Saying I'm conflicted is an understatement. Yes it's the true story of a Canadian woman who, while working as a photojournalist (or at least she thinks she is), gets captured and held for ransom along with a male friend in Somalia for over a year. She's half starved, beaten and raped before she and her friend are released. It's a story of courage, inventiveness, and faith. But Man, I don't know what to say about this one. I'd received it as an ARC from the publisher. Read it in just a few days. Saying I'm conflicted is an understatement. Yes it's the true story of a Canadian woman who, while working as a photojournalist (or at least she thinks she is), gets captured and held for ransom along with a male friend in Somalia for over a year. She's half starved, beaten and raped before she and her friend are released. It's a story of courage, inventiveness, and faith. But it's also the story of naivete, foolhardiness, and lack of common sense. It's sort of like the stories of people hiking the Grand Canyon who are told by experts to stay on the clearly marked trails. But they think they know better, go off the trail, fall into the canyon, and then cry for help, not realizing that they're putting their rescuers in danger too. Not to mention the anguish for their families. Ms. Lindhout's book is compelling but would be a good discussion topic in an ethics class.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    “It was a lesson the world had already taught me and was teaching me still. You don’t know what’s possible until you actually see it.” Amanda Lindhout, a freelance journalist, was kidnapped while traveling alongside Nigel Brennan, a freelance photojournalist, in Somalia. The two were held captive for 460 days. Where they were starved, tortured, beaten, and Amanda even raped repeatedly. A House in the Sky is Amanda Lindhouts recount of the events that took place over her year in captivity. A Hous “It was a lesson the world had already taught me and was teaching me still. You don’t know what’s possible until you actually see it.” Amanda Lindhout, a freelance journalist, was kidnapped while traveling alongside Nigel Brennan, a freelance photojournalist, in Somalia. The two were held captive for 460 days. Where they were starved, tortured, beaten, and Amanda even raped repeatedly. A House in the Sky is Amanda Lindhouts recount of the events that took place over her year in captivity. A House in the Sky starts off with Amanda's childhood. Going into the details of her struggles of being a child of poverty. Amanda's only escape from an abusive childhood was by flipping through the pages of National Geographic and pretending to be anywhere but where she is. Vowing that when she was old enough she would save the money and nothing would stop her from traveling. In her 20s Amanda started waitresses and saving all of her funds. After saving enough she started her travels and her career as a journalist. On one of her trips she met Nigel. The two continued to keep in touch and eventually started a relationship. With a long distance relationship proving to be too much the two ended up separating. Amanda continued to travel, doing her reporting work, and continued to keep contact with Nigel. Years and many countries later Amanda found herself wanting to go to Somalia and country named as the most dangerous place on earth. Knowing there was a war going on and about the terrible danger she could face she still decided to go anyways convincing Nigel to join her. This is roughly the first 150 pages of the book. These pages at first seem unimportant and are a bit sluggish. I was having trouble connecting with Amanda and found myself seeing her as being rather naïve. I decided to push through and was very thankful I did. These pages though trivial at first end up being very important in the long run. Four days into their trip a group of masked men ambushed their car and kidnapped Amanda, Nigel, and the three men traveling with them. At the time Amanda assumes they are just being robbed, and held for a few days, but once the kidnappers force them to call their families and demand a ransom (3 million dollars for both of them) she realizes that this isn’t going to be over with quickly. After the first 150 pages the stories starts getting into the heavy issues and reveals what happened to the two while being held. For the first five months Amanda and Nigel were able to be kept together. The two though starving and miserable, were for the most part treated “okay”. Once their captures realized that their ransom wouldn’t be paid right away things started to increasingly get worse. The two ultimately decided to convert to Islam as a play to make their captures treat them better. Though this decision was probably in their best interest, it ultimately didn’t make things much better, and the two were eventually separated and kept in separate rooms. The two come up with secret way to communicate and after they are told that the men that were taken with them are killed, they know they have to escape. The two over the next several days use nail clippers to chip away at a window in a shared bathroom. Once the two get out they run for what they hope will be freedom ultimately only having one person even attempt to help them. The two end up recaptured. The teenage kidnappers decide that Amanda, because she is a woman, is to blame for the failed escape attempt. Nigel instead of backing her up and helping her decides that since they are blaming her anyways that she should “just go ahead and take this one”. Amanda is then locked in a windowless room with nothing more than a few useless items, and a thin mat. She is kept in the dark for weeks where she is starved, not allowed to speak, has her feet chained together, is beaten, tortured, falls ill to a bacterial fungus, and then is ultimately gang raped for her acts. She is forced to lay on her sides at all times because her captures think otherwise she might become too strong and will try to escape again. The only time she is allowed to move is when she is praying, which she eventually becomes too weak to do. Nigel is kept in a separate room with windows, books, and allowed time to go outside because he is a man. Over the next few weeks and months Amanda is continued to be tortured, raped, and one of her captures even tells her he plans on marriage her once the money has been paid. This is all happening while their capture’s continue to call their families and demand ransom, sometimes up to ten times a day. With the government refusing to help pay ransom the families eventually seek outside help hiring a specialist to help get their kids back. After 460 days and 600,000 dollars being paid the two are released back to their families. A House in the Sky goes deep into what it is like being left alone with nothing but your own thoughts. It’s about struggling, overcoming, suffering, forgiveness, and ultimately Amanda convincing herself that if she can just push through one more day she can make it. “See? You are okay, Amanda, It’s only your body that is suffering, and you are not your body. The rest of you is fine.” At times this novel was hard to read and painful, but at the same time managed to take a tragic situation and make it beautiful. This story shows that the mind is a very powerful thing. A House in the Sky is one of those stories that will forever stay with me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    Review of the audiobook narrated by the Author. A House in The Sky is the memoir of a young woman who is kidnapped in Somalia and kept captive for 15 months. We learn how she got to that war thorn place, how she was taken and how she managed to survive for all that time while being tortured, raped and starved. I almost did not finish this novel because I deeply disliked Amanda pre-kidnap and disapproved of her stupidity, recklessness and selfish behavior. Let me elaborate. After some chapters ab Review of the audiobook narrated by the Author. A House in The Sky is the memoir of a young woman who is kidnapped in Somalia and kept captive for 15 months. We learn how she got to that war thorn place, how she was taken and how she managed to survive for all that time while being tortured, raped and starved. I almost did not finish this novel because I deeply disliked Amanda pre-kidnap and disapproved of her stupidity, recklessness and selfish behavior. Let me elaborate. After some chapters about her childhood we get to the part where she is working as a waitress in high end clubs in order to found her new found passion for traveling. I raised my brow to the amount of money she made only for serving drinks but whatever. I found her a bit smug from that point and her attitude seemed to continue. She began to travel more and more adventurously, first to Central America then to Middle East and reaching Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. She had some nasty experiences while she went ALONE to those places although she should know better that a woman in those countries is less than nothing and she will be treated badly. She kept saying that she was not a complete ignorant about the dangers of those countries but most of the times she behaved like an idiot. I am all for equal rights but those countries are not the place to through your fist in the air as a foreign female traveler. I could not shake the feeling that she did those trips to prove that she was more interesting and better than everybody else. The attitude persisted when she went to Afghanistan as a freelance journalist. Since the competition was too fierce and she wasn’t much liked there due to some shady career choices (and probably attitude) she decided to go somewhere where nobody went, Somalia. I wonder why? Maybe because it was one of the most dangerous places on Earth and nobody could guarantee any protection. I understand courage and need for adventure, I went to some not so safe places myself but there is a difference between being adventurous and stupid. Statistics might help to make the difference. Although I do not think she deserved what happened to her (nobody does), I did not care too much about what happened to her at the beginning. I felt sorrier about her ex-lover Nigel who was dragged along with her. However, he did not have too much love from me either as I do not see as a quality to leave your girlfriend alone so you can travel with an ex. Slowly, slowly I started to warm up to Amanda’s plight and to admire more and more the way she managed to survive and keep her mental health and positivism. I know I wouldn’t have made such a good job. In the end I had to admit that she proved to be a very strong woman and writing her story after all she went through is a proof to that. She was starved, raped, tortured in horrible ways, she was in pain almost all the time, kept in the dark and subjected to so many ordeals that not many would have been able to withstand. I admired her for being able to forgive her captors and understand their side, the fact that she realized how much she made her family suffer because of her behavior. I also admired what she did after she came back, the fact that she created her own charity and she tries to help African women get an Education. Her work took her back to Somalia and I imagine how hard was for her to overcome her fears to return there. The writing is beautiful, sometimes I felt it was too polished and it diminished some of the gravity of the events presented. Some other times the tone was just right. The narration was good and i was wondering how she could keep her composure while revising what happened to her.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Douglas

    A true story about a young Canadian woman bitten by wonderlust who ends up in war torn Somalia because she fancies herself a photo journalist. Not surprisingly she is kidnapped and held hostage for more than a year, starved, tortured and raped by her Muslim captors hoping for ransom money. I was engrossed in the book once I started because I wanted to know what happened to her and read it through to the end just to finish it and see how it ended. But, honestly, I spent more time wondering what o A true story about a young Canadian woman bitten by wonderlust who ends up in war torn Somalia because she fancies herself a photo journalist. Not surprisingly she is kidnapped and held hostage for more than a year, starved, tortured and raped by her Muslim captors hoping for ransom money. I was engrossed in the book once I started because I wanted to know what happened to her and read it through to the end just to finish it and see how it ended. But, honestly, I spent more time wondering what on earth she thought she was doing in Somalia in the first place having no credentials and no possibility really of doing anyone any good. She ended up suffering a harrowing ordeal and placing a friend in harms way as well, not to mention the pain she put her family through. I don't know, I was really bothered by her.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane Yannick

    Get past the part where you blame Amanda for entering Somalia. Yell at her for her wanderlust and her feelings of invincibility. Be mad at her for not setting goals for herself other than elite waitressing to earn enough money for her next trip. Find her as unlikeable as you want. Bash her for the way she treated/used her men friends. Tell her there were other ways to cope with the abuse she witnessed in her home. Yeah, she was a half-assed Canadian journalist mostly interested in seeing the bea Get past the part where you blame Amanda for entering Somalia. Yell at her for her wanderlust and her feelings of invincibility. Be mad at her for not setting goals for herself other than elite waitressing to earn enough money for her next trip. Find her as unlikeable as you want. Bash her for the way she treated/used her men friends. Tell her there were other ways to cope with the abuse she witnessed in her home. Yeah, she was a half-assed Canadian journalist mostly interested in seeing the beautiful parts of the world that many consider uncivilized. AND she wasted a lot of human and monetary resources by being so foolhardy. Then blame her for Nigel's kidnapping. Try to resist writing a review about how depressing this book is. (For heavens sake, didn't you read the synopsis?) Then, when you're all finished with these rants, reopen the book and read a truly unbelievable and inspiring tale of a young woman who was brutally tortured for fifteen months by men who raped and prayed with equal fervor. This all happened in 2008. Amanda's curiosity and quest for adventure got her into a horrendous predicament yet also allowed her to survive. She was able to endure starvation, brutal beatings, physical deterioration and repeated rapes. Her spirit, tenaciousness and belief in the future allowed her to endure what would have destroyed many of us. She clung to Eckart Tolle's teachings and created a house in the sky that would allow her to envision beauty filled with people she loved. "In my mind I built stairways. At the end of the stairways, I imagined rooms. These were high, airy places with big windows and a cool breeze moving through. I imagined one room opening brightly onto another room opening onto another room until I'd built a house..." So it was she lived in the sky of her mind. With extreme attention to detail, she becomes a Muslim hoping to humanize herself in the eyes of her captors. She maintains communication with Nigel against many odds. An especially tender moment was when they exchanged creatively crafted Christmas presents. This book is a straightforward retelling of events. It is detailed enough to haunt your dreams. After their failed escape, I almost lost hope for her survival even though I knew she lived to tell the tale. Without the gruesome details of the captivity, I would not have envisioned the squalor and the personal cost of clinging to hope in the face of fear. Yet she lives to forgive those her abused her. She continues to face her banana peels, those things that "unwittingly trip an internal wire" in her mind opening the "floodgates of fear." This book helped me to understand a world of depravity that I never even imagined.I hope that it helped Amanda to expunge a few of her demons.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Every so often you’ll read a book that stays unshakably close to you. It’ll linger in your mind and fill your thoughts throughout the day when you've set it aside and lovingly so very, very long after the last page. Memoir A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout is one of those books. Receiving the absolute highest possible praise of five and four stars from the Mindful Readers, this book is incredible. Amanda’s rich, flowing, and relentless, beautiful writing takes you intensely side by side with Every so often you’ll read a book that stays unshakably close to you. It’ll linger in your mind and fill your thoughts throughout the day when you've set it aside and lovingly so very, very long after the last page. Memoir A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout is one of those books. Receiving the absolute highest possible praise of five and four stars from the Mindful Readers, this book is incredible. Amanda’s rich, flowing, and relentless, beautiful writing takes you intensely side by side with her during her young life of travels, journalism, and long captivity in Somalia. There is so much sadness, so much struggle, so much extreme mind over matter within these pages; you are forever influenced, forever affected. But as you live Amanda’s journey, as you laugh at times and yet cry over these words with her, you will witness the most glorious symbolic faith fluttering in sunshine. You will see determination and confidence raise a weakened yet courageous life upward into fierce belief. And once in flight, hope soars from that girl in chains on that dark floor and it humbles you, awes you over the amazing grace and forgiveness that is only Amanda Lindhout. Read this unforgettable life story and ultimate quest to hand hope -- rajo -- to today's children and women of Somalia, and quite wonderfully, to you as a reader.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    Deep breath. I have been thinking about Amanda’s story a great deal since I finished this book. I have also read a great many glowing reviews that point out among other things; how well the book was written, how courageous in the face of extreme adversity Amanda was, how honest she is about her own culpability in being in that position in the first place, how remorseful she is about the ordeal her parents suffered in their efforts to free her and how humbled and self less she has become on the ot Deep breath. I have been thinking about Amanda’s story a great deal since I finished this book. I have also read a great many glowing reviews that point out among other things; how well the book was written, how courageous in the face of extreme adversity Amanda was, how honest she is about her own culpability in being in that position in the first place, how remorseful she is about the ordeal her parents suffered in their efforts to free her and how humbled and self less she has become on the other side of this nightmare as evidenced by her fortitude in helping others. All of which I believe to be true, still there is a disquiet within me, that popular or not I feel I must share. While searching within myself for the source of this uneasiness I made a mental list: She funded her travel lust by waitressing in high end clubs. Come on, where please do tell, can a waitress make that kind of money and still keep her clothes on. Not judging…just saying. Amanda learned early on in her travel exploits the pitfalls and naivety of travelling to unknown destinations (Central America) without the benefit of up to date research, that is readily available to anyone with internet access. And still off she goes to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and experienced eye opening difficulties and unpleasantries in these destinations, not to mention violation of her person in one. So on to Somalia? Look up any of these places as potential travel destinations, even today and you will see that it is highly recommended that you do not go there or if already there to get out as soon as possible. Yes I understand she was young and reckless and who among us has not been that. Still she had already had some bad experiences that coupled with these very clear warnings should have cut through that reckless spirit, about traveling to such destinations, most especially as a woman. Of course I believe that women should be able to travel to and enjoy the same destinations as men, but I also read and am all too aware of the fate of women in these countries. It is what it is. The whole counting countries thing – juvenile and ridiculous. It would seem that a number of readers would also blame Amanda for luring Nigel to Somalia. Sure, she did, but he is also a man full grown and capable of making his own choices. I for one question his choice in going there to hook up with a female companion with whom he had been previously intimate, when he had a current girlfriend back home. Got to wonder how she felt. There are a lot of comments in the book respecting the atrocities that she suffered, being greater than those that Nigel, her male friend had to endure. Surely she had to understand the risks of traveling to Islamic Fundamentalist regions, where women virtually have no rights. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not in any way saying that Amanda deserved what happened to her. No one does. I also acknowledge the fact that she felt remorse for her stupidity and for the terrible ordeal that that reckless abandon caused her loved ones. I find it remarkable and indicative of her spiritual growth that she is able to forgive her captors and consider their own horrific histories. And it is certainly commendable that she is devoting herself now to helping others through her non profit organization (The Global Enrichment Foundation), which by the way takes her back to Somalia. I guess that in the end I cannot but help and think of the other young “Amandas” out there, the ones with the same lust for travel and adventure, the ones who may have read this story and most especially those who have not and may only be peripherally aware of what actually happened. Perhaps my disquiet comes from how polished and yes sometimes hauntingly beautiful the language in this book is. I worry over the interpretation of such beauty in the hands of our reckless, ever questioning, always, undaunted youth. The Big Unspoken (view spoiler)[Presumably Amanda's captors got their payday and disappeared into the Islamic terrain. Who's next? How many Amandas and Nigels will it take before we stop serving ourselves up as ill gotten gains? And how many of those will survive? (hide spoiler)]

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angela Auclair

    In August, five years ago, Canadian Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped with Australian Nigel Brennan in Somalia, as they traveled, writing and taking photos of their experiences. In August, five years ago, I had just had Alex and was spending most of my nights awake, in a bleary, exhausted post partum haze and began following Amanda’s story. Late at night, I would search the internet for updates, hoping for good news, reading blogs that claimed to have answers as to where she was and wonder how on ear In August, five years ago, Canadian Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped with Australian Nigel Brennan in Somalia, as they traveled, writing and taking photos of their experiences. In August, five years ago, I had just had Alex and was spending most of my nights awake, in a bleary, exhausted post partum haze and began following Amanda’s story. Late at night, I would search the internet for updates, hoping for good news, reading blogs that claimed to have answers as to where she was and wonder how on earth she would survive in such a desperate place. Amanda, prior to her kidnapping, was living a life that I found terribly appealing – travel, writing, adventuring…and then to have it snatched from her like that was heartbreaking. Her story would not leave me. 459 days after that day in August, Amanda and Nigel were freed. I celebrated with a glass of wine that night, willing that Amanda would be okay. Freedom finally, but what kind of survivor would it take to overcome the days and lifetime lost in captivity? This August, in a serendipitous moment, I won an advance copy of Amanda’s book, ‘A House in the Sky‘, written with Sara Corbett, from goodreads. I actually took a breath before opening it. See, Amanda, upon her return, did not disappear into the shadows. She took her experience and decided to create change that would directly impact the lives of the very community and country that so changed hers. Far from spewing hatred towards her captors, Amanda took a road of forgiveness ( admittedly not an easy one ), recognizing that her captors were born into the violence they inflicted on her and that no good could come of any of her suffering and loss if nothing changed. Amanda, months after returning home, founded the Global Enrichment Foundation. Originally focusing on educational initiatives for women in Somalia, this foundation continues to create development and aid in Somalia and Kenya to this day. This is the background that I had, upon opening ‘A House in the Sky‘. I think I anticipated a harrowing account of her time, with well chosen words but with things left unsaid. Perhaps that is what I had hoped for, because sometimes not knowing grants you a certain permission to not feel as deeply as you should. What I fell into immediately was the honest and raw story of a woman and her family. From the opening chapter, Amanda threw away any pretense of dancing around her life and how she ended up where she did and, ultimately, where she is today. Her story details the depths of loyalty and love and how you survive when both are challenged in ways you think unimaginable. And when the unimaginable becomes the reality, how Amanda finds the way to keep her mind and self intact is a testament to the strength of women in turmoil and desperate times everywhere. The idea that there is a house in the sky for every person, a place so filled with love that it’s non reality overshadows and envelopes the sadness and pain of a reality is beautiful. What drove Amanda into the rooms and hallways of that house in the sky will leave you shaking and angry. I thought I knew Amanda’s story. I saw her speak in Ottawa a few years ago, and actually ran into her in the washroom before her talk. She had just come from an interview, where the interviewer had pushed her on areas of her captivity that she was not sharing at the time, admitting that the event had thrown her a bit and that she needed a minute to regroup. Her honesty and reaction to this unkindness ( my word for what the interviewer did ) but willingness to continue with her talk that evening should have been an indication of the power that this woman has inside her. Amanda went on to move an entire room of people minutes later, speaking candidly and with a raw hopefulness that astounded me. This raw voice of hers is found in ‘A House in the Sky‘. And it is powerful. No detail of her captivity is left wanting…you can smell and taste the rooms where they were held, you can feel the pages of the books she turns. Amanda writes about a woman in her book, a stranger who fought for Amanda with no thought for her own safety, acting with the understanding that to not act would have been such a great wrong, that the sisterhood they shared, even as strangers, was valuable and undeniable. You can see her eyes. Amanda honours this woman with her foundation, hoping that kindness and education ( and aid and development ) will somehow shift the terrible situation that produced the terror Amanda lived. And survived. There is so much more here, in this book. Friendship, love, choices, determination, self worth, the drive to survive is all bound up in a terrifying but ultimately freeing story. And that it was and is real? Experienced by a 27 year old Canadian woman? Almost unimaginable. Go anywhere. Fall in love. Make mistakes. Be kind. Forgive. Know that you are strong enough. Make change. Be hopeful. These are the thoughts I am left with, after closing the book. There are others of course – the baseness of human brutality, cultural realities that scare me, how governments work in our lives, the role of women in society, the feeling that there is so much work to be done in so many places. In all this, Amanda leaves her readers with hope, hope for change and hope that despite what she has been through that life holds for her so much more yet. I have never written a book review before. I hope that I have not held back too much on the story that Amanda and Sara have shared. Many details can be found on the internet and in newspaper clippings, but the depth of what this woman has survived should be experienced. Many of you have followed this story for years, with me. Know that the full story only moves you more deeply. ‘A House in the Sky‘ will be released on September 3rd, 2013. ( full review, with links, here - http://angelaauclair.wordpress.com/20... )

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I read this prior to joining GR and hence a late review but as I pulled this out for my husband to read, I thought I must write something as this has stayed with me. This is one of the most memorable, shocking, fascinating memoirs I have ever read. Amanda Lindhout is an astonishing woman and the ordeal she went through - as disturbing as it was - transformed her into becoming one of the most courageous of women whom exist today. From the time she had written this, she has done amazing things in I read this prior to joining GR and hence a late review but as I pulled this out for my husband to read, I thought I must write something as this has stayed with me. This is one of the most memorable, shocking, fascinating memoirs I have ever read. Amanda Lindhout is an astonishing woman and the ordeal she went through - as disturbing as it was - transformed her into becoming one of the most courageous of women whom exist today. From the time she had written this, she has done amazing things in Somali, raising the awareness of the oppression of women. This is an absolute 5 ★ must read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    4.5 stars It feels unfair to quantify this book into a rating because Amanda's resilience and willingness to share her story is worth 10 stars alone. I went into this book sort of anticipating it to only focus on the abuse she suffered, but it actually was a full tale of why traveling fulfilled her and how she spent her restless youth pursuing new experiences. also, this book humanized her captors in a way I didn't anticipate. Obviously, they still committed horrible crimes and should suffer cons 4.5 stars It feels unfair to quantify this book into a rating because Amanda's resilience and willingness to share her story is worth 10 stars alone. I went into this book sort of anticipating it to only focus on the abuse she suffered, but it actually was a full tale of why traveling fulfilled her and how she spent her restless youth pursuing new experiences. also, this book humanized her captors in a way I didn't anticipate. Obviously, they still committed horrible crimes and should suffer consequences accordingly, but this book isn't a jab at Islam, and Amanda's ability to rationalize and forgive why she was held captive was incredible. The writing of this book was great because it remained brutally truthful without letting emotions take over the storytelling. I especially thought it was interesting to hear about how differently Nigel and her were treated based on their genders, and it would be interesting to read Nigel's account of what happened after this one to see how their stories align and see how they relied on one another. The reason I took .5 stars off is because there's so much build up in the beginning but not as much explanation about what happens after they're released, how Amanda comes with adjusting to life with freedom, and what she's doing with her humanitarian efforts and schooling. Nevertheless, this book speaks a lot to the power of people to endure and I shed a few tears by the end because I couldn't even imagine being in her situation. It gave me a lot to think about and was so gripping I listened to it in just about two sittings whereas I've been struggling through all the books I've been reading so far this year. The change in pace definitely kickstarted a lot more reading and needless to say, I really enjoyed this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    A chance conversation with someone in a coffee shop a few weeks ago brought this book to my attention. As I read, I wondered both how this story and the publication of memoir passed me by. Did I perhaps read a snippet in The New York Timesin the fall of 2008, shake my head in momentary worry and sadness, and move on to Presidential election campaign squabbles, forgetting all about the plight of Amanda Lindhout? I certainly won't forget her story now. A young woman, blithely tripping about the gl A chance conversation with someone in a coffee shop a few weeks ago brought this book to my attention. As I read, I wondered both how this story and the publication of memoir passed me by. Did I perhaps read a snippet in The New York Timesin the fall of 2008, shake my head in momentary worry and sadness, and move on to Presidential election campaign squabbles, forgetting all about the plight of Amanda Lindhout? I certainly won't forget her story now. A young woman, blithely tripping about the globe, in search of direction, meaning, identity and adventure, becomes a prisoner by means of her own ignorance, arrogance, and good intentions. Growing up in Alberta, Canada with a single mom whose much-younger boyfriend terrorized the family with bouts of drunken violence, Amanda found an escape route in old copies of National Geographic. In those pages filled with images of the Hindu Kush mountains, the tropical forests of Indonesia, and the vast plains of the Serengeti, Amanda dreamed of a life less-ordinary, of finding the freedom that is unique to the traveler. At the age of twenty, she begins a series of extreme adventures, funded by episodes of waitressing at high-end restaurants in Calgary. Traveling as cheaply as she can, she set off for months at a time—traipsing through South America, South Asia, Africa—full of spirit, but without direction. It's only after she takes hold of a camera that Amanda Lindhout finds a calling as a free-lance photojournalist. She cuts her teeth as a stringer in Afghanistan, and then takes a job as a correspondent for an Iranian-run news channel in Baghdad, a job which earns her the scorn and contempt of nearly every other Western journalist she encounters. Shamed by her own naïveté, she decamps to Kenya with the intention of inserting herself into the war in Somalia. Days after she and a former boyfriend, photographer Nigel Brennan, arrive in Mogadishu in August 2008, they are kidnapped by a group of heavily-armed young men. Amanda and Nigel spend the next 460 days in brutal, soul-crushing captivity. This book is a narrative of two parts, two very differently constructed narratives—what I call Before Captivity and After Captivity. Before Captivity is a series of events, a "First this happened, then that happened", with largely shallow self-reflection. Truly, it is an honest mirror of Amanda at this time: an earnest, brave, determined young woman without direction. Her only goal is to move away from where she is and what she might become if she remains standing still. After Captivity is a shattering coming-of-age story of a woman in physical, emotional and spiritual crisis. How Amanda survives her ordeal is not only her story, but a larger story of war, poverty, and faith. This is an anguishing read. The abuse Amanda sustains at the hands of young men for whom she comes to feel tremendous empathy is graphic and wrenching. But the story she and co-author Sara Corbett tell is a vital one: to understand how the soul transcends while the body suffers. Highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Ghost written account of a stupid and reckless young Alberta women who ignored all advice to enter the lawless, warlord-divided and 20yr civil-war ravaged country of Somalia and who was kidnapped and held for ransom for 460 days with equally dumb Australian ex-boyfriend/wannabe photojournalist. I must congratulate New York Times writer Sara Corbett for corralling the flotsam and jetsam thoughts of the airheaded Lindhout. She managed to put structure and weave a simple plotline into the vapid, sto Ghost written account of a stupid and reckless young Alberta women who ignored all advice to enter the lawless, warlord-divided and 20yr civil-war ravaged country of Somalia and who was kidnapped and held for ransom for 460 days with equally dumb Australian ex-boyfriend/wannabe photojournalist. I must congratulate New York Times writer Sara Corbett for corralling the flotsam and jetsam thoughts of the airheaded Lindhout. She managed to put structure and weave a simple plotline into the vapid, stockholm-syndrome addled commentary that appears to issue forth from Lindhout's mouth. The book appears to be modeled on Kulber-Ross's five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and depression - but adds another only the reader experiences by the end of this book - relief. I have not read other "proof of life" kidnap accounts but suspect this is an economical (literary) treatment of the subject as there is so little self-reflection and insight provided. Lindhout does not paint a very pretty picture of her co-conspirator/ex-boyfriend Nigel Brennan either - and yet he has penned his own account that I have not read (but may to compare and contrast). [The Price of Life] Aside from Lindhout's "Stockholm Syndrome" tendency towards the end of her harrowing ordeal (I am not heartless, just holding her to account/laying blame where it is due). Perhaps the most useful part of this book is the close portrait of her captors - young islamic jihadis - who are trapped in their 7th Century religious belief while yearning for all things western - jeans, iPhones, Disney&Coke-a-cola Culture and an american education. These are the real enemy who remain to be co-opted into Western culture - before they blow themselves up. -------------------- News of return National Post critique of detractors (like me I suppose as I agree with Coyne)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Saleem Khan

    UPDATE, Sept. 13, 2013: My full review runs in Canada's National Post newspaper on Sept. 14, but you can read it online now at http://j.mp/skahitsrnp One note on the Goodreads rating: It should be 4.5 stars, but I don't see a way to do that. Update Sept. 8, 2019. The Post broke the short link and the new URL for the full review is now https://nationalpost.com/entertainmen... Initial impressions posted: July 16, 2013: I read this in about eight hours. Part of the reason might have been personal inte UPDATE, Sept. 13, 2013: My full review runs in Canada's National Post newspaper on Sept. 14, but you can read it online now at http://j.mp/skahitsrnp One note on the Goodreads rating: It should be 4.5 stars, but I don't see a way to do that. Update Sept. 8, 2019. The Post broke the short link and the new URL for the full review is now https://nationalpost.com/entertainmen... Initial impressions posted: July 16, 2013: I read this in about eight hours. Part of the reason might have been personal interest, as a Canadian journalist for whom Amanda Lindhout's kidnapping was top of mind throughout her captivity. Irrespective of any additional impetus that may have lent to tear through the advance copy's 367 pages, A House in the Sky is a tightly written, compelling, and surprisingly balanced account that illuminates Ms. Lindhout's life in a way that news reports did not, and perhaps could not. In collaboration with Sara Corbett, Ms. Lindhout shepherds the reader along the path from childhood that led her to Somalia, and then through her experience in just enough detail to be engrossing and even heartbreaking, but not soul-crushing. Ms. Lindhout's emergence from her ordeal as an advocate for education and economic opportunities for young Somali women in particular ensures that her story ends on an uplifting note, but in the midst of her tale, that outcome is far from certain or likely.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Through A House in the Sky you vicariously experience being a hostage. Please start by carefully reading the GR book description. It is accurate and to the point. What can I add? The book is both well written and well laid out. What the author lived through is not sensationalized and I admire Amanda Lindhout for that. The book is co-authored by Sara Corbett. Together the two have written a very, very good book. It is not an easy book to read. By starting with Amanda's troubled family circumstance Through A House in the Sky you vicariously experience being a hostage. Please start by carefully reading the GR book description. It is accurate and to the point. What can I add? The book is both well written and well laid out. What the author lived through is not sensationalized and I admire Amanda Lindhout for that. The book is co-authored by Sara Corbett. Together the two have written a very, very good book. It is not an easy book to read. By starting with Amanda's troubled family circumstances the reader grasps where she is coming from and why she makes the choices she makes. Some are extremely foolish, but don't we all? 460 days, that is how long she was held hostage. I cannot describe as well as the author does herself her h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e experience. Everything goes from bad to worse. (view spoiler)[Yes, she is raped, repeatedly! And tortured. (hide spoiler)] You might as well know that before you start. But absolutely none of the events are described in a sensational manner. She describes all with grace. I cannot emphasize this enough. Islamic fundamentalists do this to her. This made me very, very mad. I am mad at all that is done in the name of religion. I am not willing to point a finger at Islam. Historically people of all religions under a guise of sweet words do the unforgivable. Some people did help Amanda. I am primarily thinking in this case of one wonderful Somali woman. I have to hang on to what that one woman did to not lose all faith in humankind. I recommend this book very highly. It needs to be read. I really enjoyed the audiobook narration by Amanda, the one who lived through these events. OK, I have not met her in person but at least I have heard her voice. It is not pretentious. She has learned from her mistakes and gone forward with such amazing strength. I admire her tremendously. I was using a map from National Geographic while I listened to this. Both Amanda and I love that magazine!

  19. 4 out of 5

    linda

    I wish I could give it more stars. In some ways I'm just speechless..... At times I literally had to flip the book over and look at Amanda's picture and remind myself that she truly did survive this! How deep she had to dig within herself to keep herself sane. This is a must read. She is a hero and has turned her horrific experience into one of giving to others . I wish I could give it more stars. In some ways I'm just speechless..... At times I literally had to flip the book over and look at Amanda's picture and remind myself that she truly did survive this! How deep she had to dig within herself to keep herself sane. This is a must read. She is a hero and has turned her horrific experience into one of giving to others .

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Regan

    This is one of those books that is so powerful it changes your most fundamental view of the world. It reads like a novel, like literary fiction. There is so much in this, I could see this being read in college classes. It is fast paced. I wanted to slow down to savor how amazing the writing was, but it was hard not to rush ahead. Several times I found my heart pounding--wanting to put the book down because some of the things this woman endured were so horrifying it felt like a punch to the gut. This is one of those books that is so powerful it changes your most fundamental view of the world. It reads like a novel, like literary fiction. There is so much in this, I could see this being read in college classes. It is fast paced. I wanted to slow down to savor how amazing the writing was, but it was hard not to rush ahead. Several times I found my heart pounding--wanting to put the book down because some of the things this woman endured were so horrifying it felt like a punch to the gut. At the same time I simply could not put it down. For me, I know it is a great book if I dream about it at night after having read it for several minutes or hours that day. This stays with you. I say this is a great book because Ms. Lindhout and her co-writer hit on some very deep, very provocative and very harrowing human issues. It sounds so trite to say I cannot believe what this woman endured, but it is true. What happened to her is beyond anything my mind could conjure in its worst nightmares and yet, her voice is strong, compassionate and very powerful. I keep coming back to that word: powerful. This book is the physical embodiment of that word. This book will make you fall in love with and savor every second of your life, every second, every free breath, every moment that you are safe and unharmed. Everything. This book will change the way you think about people, about men and women and war, about what it means to be free. It is also absolutely terrifying. as a woman it was very, very difficult to read in many places. But I am glad I did. This is truly one of the most amazing, astounding books I have ever read written in part by one of the most remarkable and courageous women I have ever heard or known of.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    5.0 Stars Video Review: https://youtu.be/fxRmBmG8PzI Reread one of my all time favourite books. This was such a powerful, compelling memoir. The narrative grips me in every time. I highly recommend this one. 5.0 Stars Video Review: https://youtu.be/fxRmBmG8PzI Reread one of my all time favourite books. This was such a powerful, compelling memoir. The narrative grips me in every time. I highly recommend this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    About 3 weeks ago a co-worker gave me this book to read. He warned me, "It's brutal." Since it was non-fiction, this really scared me. While I was finishing up another book, I left A House in the Sky on the end table and watched it with weariness, as if it was a wild animal that would bite me if I got too close. After about 10 days of watching the book rest next to the couch, with the warning of it's profound brutality, I finally dug in. Oh my goodness ... brutal is an understatement. This book About 3 weeks ago a co-worker gave me this book to read. He warned me, "It's brutal." Since it was non-fiction, this really scared me. While I was finishing up another book, I left A House in the Sky on the end table and watched it with weariness, as if it was a wild animal that would bite me if I got too close. After about 10 days of watching the book rest next to the couch, with the warning of it's profound brutality, I finally dug in. Oh my goodness ... brutal is an understatement. This book left me emotionally strung out and full of anxiety. The story was very well told without embellishing the acts of violence and described such courage and strength in the face of extreme physical and mental adversity. After my nerves settled down, I thought, if Lindhout can persevere through 15 months of captivity in squalid conditions, enduring starvation, rape, beatings and torture, surely I can endure the slight road bumps I encounter during my relatively comfortable life. I also thought, what god could possibly profess that it is permissible and acceptable to treat women this way? Is this why men act this way, using the excuse of god to dehumanize and denigrate women ... I can not comprehend this reprehensible behavior. The brutality made me feel so sad and angry. I highly recommend this book but be prepared for some very intense emotions. Despite my tingling nerve endings, I could not stop reading this book. Enjoy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gina *loves sunshine*

    I went back and forth on this rating, I wanted to give it 3/3.5 stars but in order to really do this review justice I'm gonna have to bump it up to 4 stars. This was a tough book to read! I can't knock in down just because what happened to her was so horrible!!!! It is the true story of Amanda Lindhout and how she was captured and held prisoner in Somalia. In the beginning you meet Amanda, she's carefree, she's a traveler and she's not afraid to go where ever - dangerous or not! It set up in a wa I went back and forth on this rating, I wanted to give it 3/3.5 stars but in order to really do this review justice I'm gonna have to bump it up to 4 stars. This was a tough book to read! I can't knock in down just because what happened to her was so horrible!!!! It is the true story of Amanda Lindhout and how she was captured and held prisoner in Somalia. In the beginning you meet Amanda, she's carefree, she's a traveler and she's not afraid to go where ever - dangerous or not! It set up in a way that I was not so sympathetic to her capture, apparently I was in the twisted mood?!?! It was an odd mix in the beginning because in some ways I was really wanting a bad-ass hostage book (not sure why???). But really it started out pretty clean and casual, with the obvious loss of freedom - it didn't seem too bad. I actually got a little bored. Months went by as her family worked on gathering up the ransom to pay for her release. Slowly but surely I got my wish and my reading pleasure went from interesting and tolerable to horrific!!!! If you really want to know what the fundamentalists do in a female hostage situation - then read this. But be warned. If you want to read a story of survival, read this. Get the audio if you want Amanda to be narrating that story - it was well done!!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    A House in the Sky is an amazing memoir about a Canadian woman named Amanda Lindhout. This well written book is co-authored by Sara Corbett. It was on the New York Times bestseller list and won the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for Best Canadian Nonfiction. Amanda writes about the horrible experiences in a factual manner that made it sound very realistic. I admire her tremendously for how she remained positive, survived and how she has dedicated her life to help others. I listened to the audiobook narrat A House in the Sky is an amazing memoir about a Canadian woman named Amanda Lindhout. This well written book is co-authored by Sara Corbett. It was on the New York Times bestseller list and won the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for Best Canadian Nonfiction. Amanda writes about the horrible experiences in a factual manner that made it sound very realistic. I admire her tremendously for how she remained positive, survived and how she has dedicated her life to help others. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Amanda. Excellent book and I highly recommend it. 5 stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Rayment

    The Good Stuff I think this is one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. How do you critique someones harrowing life story when you have no writing ability, and have not been through anything even closely related. This fiercely strong women has opened her heart and showed her pain and suffering to complete strangers. I don't want to do a disservice to her story with my inadequate words or trite commentary. Please forgive me for my inadequacy and just do yourself a favor and pick up a The Good Stuff I think this is one of the hardest reviews I have ever had to write. How do you critique someones harrowing life story when you have no writing ability, and have not been through anything even closely related. This fiercely strong women has opened her heart and showed her pain and suffering to complete strangers. I don't want to do a disservice to her story with my inadequate words or trite commentary. Please forgive me for my inadequacy and just do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this harrowing, yet beautifully told book. Amanda, I admire you and at the same time wish I had the power to make the rest of your life blessed to overcome the violence you faced. Your strength of will and of character is to be admired and your courage and ability to forgive is something we should all strive for. You give me hope for the future. I am so sorry when we met that I knew nothing of your past. I would like to go back in time and just hug you - I know that isn't much, but I am not a hugger by nature if that means anything. deeply personal no holds barred Inspirational Couldn't put this down Never a moment of poor me - she speaks frankly about her background and her ordeal, without ever putting blame on anyone Haunting - this book is still with me eventhough I finished it early June Fascinating and informative Inspirational Hope and Forgiveness are the main messages she want to get through to the world Takes what happened to her, and instead of letting it take hold and bring her down, uses it to try to bring around change and to help this from happening to others SPOILER - The chapter dealing with her attempted escape sickens me. However, the sheer courage of one of those involved who tried to help does a least give me a little hope but at the same time breaks my heart for her probable fate This will win awards my friends. The collaboration between Ms Lindhout and Ms Corbett is seamless and perfect The Not So Good Stuff Had to find something to put here - would have liked to know more about Amanda's life since the ordeal Cover is sorta blah (not sure if that will change for finished product) This is hard for me to say, but I have to be honest, whenever I read tales like this it makes me think even more poorly about that part of the world, and this makes me feel horrible. I am the type of person who wants to believe that there is good in everyone. I truly don't understand how someone who believes in a God, can treat a fellow person this way and than think that a God would not only approve, but reward them for it. Favorite Quotes Passages "It was as if we were poise at the edge of a witch's cauldron or sat at the prow of a great ship in the center of an otherworldly ocean. I had seen this place in the magazine, and now we were here, lost in it. It was a small truth affirmed. And it was all I needed to keep going." "The Kuchis reminded me a little bit of the First Nations people back in Canada, independent and unintegrated and pretty much worse off for it." "I made peace with anyone who might ever have been an enemy. I asked forgiveness for every vain or selfish thing I'd done in my life. Inside the house in the sky, all the people I loved sat down for a big holiday meal. I was safe and protected. It was where all the voices that normally tore through my head expressing fear and wishing for death were silent, until there was only one left speaking. It was a calmer, stronger voice, one that to me felt divine. It said, See? You are okay, Amanda. It's only your body that's suffering, and you are not your body. The rest of you is fine." "For one split second, I knew his suffering. It had assembled itself and looped through me in a rush. Its absolute clarity made me gasp. It was anguish, accrued over the brief span of his life. It was rage and helplessness. It was a little. This was the person who was hurting me. His sadness trenched beneath mine." Who Should Shouldn't Read This may be a difficult read for the more sensitive Other than those who are extremely sensitive, you must read this! 5 Dewey s I received this from the charming and fun Felicia at Simon and Schuster - thanks for the heads up Captain Awesome

  26. 4 out of 5

    Atty. Winston Pagador

    Haunting, disturbing, lacerating, and all the superlatives of suffering! I was exhausted after reading this book that everything I read before seemed bland. An astonishing survival tale distinguished by its aching tenderness and ferocious beauty, A House In The Sky was the most riveting kidnapping narrative I've read this year, or ever. I was glued from start to finish. I was wondering, my heart breaking, how much inhumanity can we really take in? How to live in a world full of hatred? How to ev Haunting, disturbing, lacerating, and all the superlatives of suffering! I was exhausted after reading this book that everything I read before seemed bland. An astonishing survival tale distinguished by its aching tenderness and ferocious beauty, A House In The Sky was the most riveting kidnapping narrative I've read this year, or ever. I was glued from start to finish. I was wondering, my heart breaking, how much inhumanity can we really take in? How to live in a world full of hatred? How to even hope when there seems to be no hope at all? This book offered that hope, that light, that life! Yes, it was terrying, but you know what, stories like these needed to be read, to be shared, if only to awaken a glimmer of whatever good-heartedness left in us, that by exposing the injustices of the world we can help to make it a better place. Highly, highly recommended!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I read this because my husband couldn't put it down. As the book description says, it's the story of a woman who was kidnapped in Somalia. Though I respect Amanda Lindhout for raising herself out of a sad and difficult childhood, I did spend a lot of time saying to myself, (sometimes out loud) "Wow, what a stupid thing to do!" as she compulsively travels alone to dangerous flashpoint destinations. Amanda Lindhout is a traveler/cocktail waitress/wannabe journalist. For a few years, she's extremel I read this because my husband couldn't put it down. As the book description says, it's the story of a woman who was kidnapped in Somalia. Though I respect Amanda Lindhout for raising herself out of a sad and difficult childhood, I did spend a lot of time saying to myself, (sometimes out loud) "Wow, what a stupid thing to do!" as she compulsively travels alone to dangerous flashpoint destinations. Amanda Lindhout is a traveler/cocktail waitress/wannabe journalist. For a few years, she's extremely lucky--people are nice, no one rapes her--until she travels to Somalia, where no one is in charge; the land of pirates, professional kidnappers, and Islamic fundamentalists--and there, her luck runs out. What did I learn from this book? A couple of things. What it takes, psychologically, to survive kidnapping and torture. Despite being treated like some kind of amalgamation of slave, war booty, and animal, Lindhout never loses hope, is incredibly positive, learns to leave her poor abused body and disappear inside her mind, and retains an almost kindly view of her kidnappers. (Yes. I was thinking Stockholm Syndrome, too.) This book served as a shocking reminder of the difference between Western civilization and fundamentalist Islamic society. It is almost a tragedy to be born female in a place where women are forced to walk around in shrouds, peering at the world through a slit in the fabric. It's heartbreaking even just reading about a society that forces those conditions upon fifty percent of their population. Lindhout isn't alone; she's kidnapped with a male friend, yet only she is beaten, raped, tied up, starved, scapegoated, tortured, forced to lie on the floor for months in a windowless, lightless room. In contrast, her companion, a hapless wannabe photographer ex-boyfriend, is given books to read, a room with windows, and the teenage kidnappers treat him like a buddy. Was Lindhout helplessly naive? Oh, yes. Will you shake your head in stunned disbelief as you read of her loony escapades? You certainly will. Will you make your daughters read it before you allow them to travel anywhere? Absolutely yes. What happened to her was tragically inevitable. But her clear-headed and beautifully-written description of her time in Somalia makes for a fascinating read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cher

    4 stars - It was great. I loved it. Somalia sounds like hell on Earth. I cannot fathom living somewhere that is so ingrained with violence, and the uncertainty that must exist for the citizens as the law and who is in control changes hands so frequently, perhaps even depending on what part of the country you are in at the moment. I cannot get the image out of my head of the woman that tried to help Amanda in vain, at the mosque. How difficult of a life the innocents in that country must have, as 4 stars - It was great. I loved it. Somalia sounds like hell on Earth. I cannot fathom living somewhere that is so ingrained with violence, and the uncertainty that must exist for the citizens as the law and who is in control changes hands so frequently, perhaps even depending on what part of the country you are in at the moment. I cannot get the image out of my head of the woman that tried to help Amanda in vain, at the mosque. How difficult of a life the innocents in that country must have, as they are hostages of a sort as well, in their own country and the only place they have to call "home". Home should be a safe place for everyone. I didn't want to read this memoir as I feared it would be gory, graphic and painful to read, but I'm a book club trooper. It is not nearly as difficult to read as I had feared and the author does a great job of "fading to black" - she lets you know what happened but also spares you many of the details. The author's tenacity and ability to hold on to hope, love and even forgiveness in light of what she went through is incredibly inspiring. I don't believe I would have fared as well, but hope to never have to endure that grim test. For starters, you will never find me visiting Somalia. Never. The fact that Amanda continues to go back to that country where she was abused by a few, to help the needs of many, is humbling. Amanda and Nigel: ------------------------------------------- Favorite Quote: I've realized that the world is, in essence, full of banana peels - loaded with things that may unwittingly trip an internal wire in my mind, opening a floodgate of fears without warning. First Sentence: We named the houses they put us in.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    They became guilty, one the same as another. I bled not for hours or days but for weeks afterwards. I almost did not finish this book. I did not like and could not identify with the young Amanda. Also living in Africa, it is very difficult to understand why anyone would choose to go into one of the most dangerous countries in the world by choice. I am very glad I stuck it out. I appreciated how the memoir was able to show us how she changed as a person. I'm always amazed when someone is able to d They became guilty, one the same as another. I bled not for hours or days but for weeks afterwards. I almost did not finish this book. I did not like and could not identify with the young Amanda. Also living in Africa, it is very difficult to understand why anyone would choose to go into one of the most dangerous countries in the world by choice. I am very glad I stuck it out. I appreciated how the memoir was able to show us how she changed as a person. I'm always amazed when someone is able to do that, start writing a book from the perspective of the "old" you, and very gradually change this to the new you. Her relationship with her captors and Nigel was one of the most arresting elements of the story, and will keep me thinking long after the book has been packed away. Lastly I think I learned more about the religion of Islam than in any other book I've read before. One of the best-written memoirs I've read this year. The Story: This memoir recounts Lindhout's experience in southern Somalia as a hostage of teenage militants from the Hizbul Islam fundamentalist group.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anna Graham Hunter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I can't shake this book. I stayed up late reading it and woke up at 3:30 the next morning because I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's hard to recommend, because it's the most brutal and horrific story I've ever heard from someone who lived to tell about it. If it were graphic or sensationalistic, it would have been easier to handle. Instead, her restraint and self-awareness make it heartbreaking. She said it took her and her journalist co-author three and a half years to write it, and that s I can't shake this book. I stayed up late reading it and woke up at 3:30 the next morning because I couldn't stop thinking about it. It's hard to recommend, because it's the most brutal and horrific story I've ever heard from someone who lived to tell about it. If it were graphic or sensationalistic, it would have been easier to handle. Instead, her restraint and self-awareness make it heartbreaking. She said it took her and her journalist co-author three and a half years to write it, and that shows. The choices she's made since she got home make her one of the bravest people I know of. Yet what I can't shake is knowing that - despite all her efforts to use her experience as a force for good - she still has to live with what happened to her every day. I hope she makes millions from this book and from a movie deal so she can fund her foundation for the next hundred years and pay back her family members who lost everything to pay her ransom. I doubt that will happen, but it would be nice.

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