Book Review- A House in the Sky By Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

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.


The book, 'A House in the Sky: Memoir of a kidnapping that changed everything', is vivid in every detail it speaks about. The trauma, torture, despair that the author has to go through the 460 days, and comes out of it bold and strong is commendable. As you turn through the pages of the paperback, you'll find yourself in a cinematographic experience. Word by word and scene by scene detail of the 460 days spent by the author as a captive in Somalia, is no less than a movie. It makes you wonder that such horrendous acts do happen in reality. Reality is harsh, and the book explicitly shows that. It is hard to grasp the truth that the narrative enfolds before you. You are left amused not only by the narrative, which has been lucidly written but also by the fact that the author has to go through every detail of it once again while writing it down for the readers. You cannot but applaud the courage with which the author comes out of the situation. From sexual abuse, to ill-treatment, hunger, physical atrocities, there is nothing that she hasn't gone through; at one point, death seems better to her than surviving the ordeal, which seemed never-ending. Yet, she pins her hope on everything. Her hope doesn't disappoint her in the end. In trying to free her, her family does go through a financial setback, but the joy of coming together with them after the release felt like 'home', 'shelter', 'secured.' 

A powerfully written story of courage, resilience, and grace. As of September 2013, the book is a New York Times bestseller. It also won the 2014 CBC Bookie Award for Best Canadian Nonfiction and was nominated for the 2014 Libris Award for best non-fiction book of 2013. 

P.S.: I think it can be turned into a motion picture if the story is projected well.  

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