Saturday 28 September 2013
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
I feel inadequate to review such a remarkable book; especially because it depicts an actual life lived. I usually don’t read books about kidnapping and torture. I find such stories deeply disturbing and I can’t sleep, but since I met Amanda Lindhout at a Teaching Convention, I’ve been inspired by her strength, forgiveness and positivity. I decided to brave the sleepless nights to read her story. It’s the least I could do.
Lindhout is an incredible speaker – she is articulate, poised and deeply relatable. I wondered how a book could encapsulate her and her devastating story, but through an incredible partnership with author Sara Corbett, Lindhout has produced an amazing piece of literature.
Something I loved about the book is that it begins long before the kidnapping. It shows Lindhout at nine years old, dumpster-diving with her brother in Sylvan Lake so they can collect enough bottle money to buy second-hand National Geographic magazines. It goes on to describe her childhood in a broken family, and her move to Calgary as a young woman. She works as a waitress in the downtown core to earn enough money to travel. She loves travelling and pushes herself to overcome hurdles and fears.
I believe that by starting the book this way, you get a better picture of Ms. Lindhout and her desire to see and understand the world. It explains how she ends up in such a dangerous and war-ravaged country as Somalia. It makes her more human. When I met her, she seemed almost angelic with her incredible capacity for choosing forgiveness. The book allows her the time to tell the whole story.
Once she is captured, the story becomes more and more difficult to read, yet at the same time, I read faster and faster; trying, in some way, to get her out of her terrible situation as quickly as possible. It did become increasingly difficult for me to sleep at night, I’ll admit. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could survive the things she endured. But she did.
A House in the Sky will stay with me forever. It offers life lessons and inspired me to pray – for Ms. Lindhout’s healing, for the desperation in Somalia and for others who have experienced abuse. I am deeply angered by the continued suffering that Ms. Lindhout must endure from media and other goons who send her hateful emails, blaming her for her agonizing experience. She deserves much, much better.