Today is national book day! Likely my favourite day ever. So in celebration of today here is a review of a book I just finished; A House in the Sky.
But first, backstory! This book is written by Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian journalist who was held captive for 15 months in Somalia in 2008. This is her story of survival and extreme and inspiring bravery in the face of unimaginable obstacles. Amanda is originally from Alberta where she had a very challenging upbringing. She found escape in the pages of National Geographic and eventually the places she had longed to see. Amanda is first and foremost an adventurer who grew into a storyteller.
Her story is above all else, inspiring and eye opening. Amanda does an amazing job of painting a picture not only of her life and childhood but also her travels and how the world shaped her and gave her many tools of survival. She recalls, with impressive detail the people and places she encountered over her many years of travel to 70+ countries. And sadly, her days spent in captivity. These moments are heart-wrenching to read and frankly, leave you feeling sick.
The book starts off in Red Deer, Alberta, during Amanda’s childhood and quickly moves into her young adult years where her love of travel and adventure started to develop. Her stories of far away places paint intoxicating images of freedom and beauty. She talks about the beauty of Latin America, India, Afganistan, Sudan and Syria in a way that it feels like you are standing beside her the whole time. Her encounters with Nigel, a man who was also held captive, are funny, normal and heartwarming. This is a relationship that transformed the story and shows us the power of the human spirit and a bond that was so strong it saved lives.
Knowing Amanda’s story going in, I knew that eventually she would be taken. What I wasn’t prepared for, was the horrific treatment she received. The gut-wrenching detail in which what happened was described left me devastated and disgusted with what human beings are capable off.
I don’t want to give too much away because I believe everyone needs to read this book. This book, for me, is on the list with The Diary of Anne Frank. It is a story of human survival in conditions to many people around the globe are faced with and should not be. The violence depicted in this book will never leave me and I was only the reader. I cannot imagine living this story. Amanda is someone we should all look up to. Her courage, strength and will to survive are so inspiring and impressive.
All in all, I cannot recommend this book enough to everyone. It is remarkable, life-changing and truly makes you appreciate being a Canadian on a level I didn’t know was fully possible.