Book Review: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
This one will stay with me for a while.
Since I finished reading, my mind returns again and again to memorable scenes, pivotal moments, and mystical insights.
For most of us, international travel is an occasional money-depleting endeavour undertaken between long stretches of home, but for Amanda Lindhout, home was an occasional money-replenishing pastime undertaken between long stretches of international travel. Lindhout backpacked around the world, ticking off countries on an invisible list, comparing and contrasting the reality of them to National Geographic pages she thumbed through as a child. The National Geographic photos were one of the stable factors in an often turbulent childhood.
The book begins with the stories of this childhood, which, if examined deeply enough, might merit a book of their own. Her memories of this time are both not really relevant and entirely relevant to the core of what this memoir is about: a kidnapping Somalia. For readers to understand how Lindhout ends up in Somalia at one of its most dangerous times in history, she needs to tell us the childhood and teenage events that shaped her, and she needs to delineate her evolution from “carefree young backpacker” to “aspiring war correspondent.” And she needs to let us know how Nigel Brennan ended up along with her on such a horrific journey.
This book takes reader on an up-and-down emotional ride: a downer of violence and alcohol abuse, an exciting ascending stretch of international travel to exotic locations, a gut-clenching plateau of apprehension because we know what lies ahead, a long, slow descent into horror, and finally an upward coast to healing, forgiveness and plans for the future.
Lindhout gives an honest account of her missteps and her self-blame and guilt, especially when it comes to the complicated relationship with Nigel. She shares how she used the power of imagination and gratitude to persevere through months of boredom, and physical hardship.
Lindhout and Corbett write a compelling story that, at the end of it all, is a tribute to the power of compassion and spirit. It stays with you for a while.
Posted on November 5, 2014, in Book Club, Book reviews, Books I bought, Memoir, Non-fiction, Religion, Scribner, Spirituality and tagged A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout, international travel, kidnapping, Nigel Brennan, Sara Corbett, Somalia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.