Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

A House in the Sky
Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4516-4560-6
Buy from Indigo
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Description: The spectacularly dramatic memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her from rural Canada to imperiled and dangerous countries on every continent, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity in Somalia—a story of courage, resilience, and extraordinary grace.

At the age of eighteen, Amanda Lindhout moved from her hardscrabble Alberta hometown to the big city—Calgary—and worked as a cocktail waitress, saving her tips so she could travel the globe. As a child, she escaped a violent household by paging through National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. Now she would see those places for real. She backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each experience, went on to travel solo across Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a TV reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth”—to report on the fighting there. On her fourth day in the country, she and her photojournalist companion were abducted.

An astoundingly intimate and harrowing account of Lindhout’s fifteen months as a captive, A House in the Sky illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of her young guards and the men in charge of them. She is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to unthinkable abuse. She survives by imagining herself in a “house in the sky,” looking down at the woman shackled below, and finding strength and hope in the power of her own mind. Lindhout’s decision, upon her release, to counter the violence she endured by founding an organization to help the Somali people rebuild their country through education is a wrenching testament to the capacity of the human spirit and an astonishing portrait of the power of compassion and forgiveness

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

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