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4.8 out of 5 stars
113
4.8 out of 5 stars


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on 14 May 2017
This book was recommended by a good friend as one she loved. I liked it but really struggled with the why and how and general frustration with the whole situation. The book left me angry and disgusted with someone who could be so self absorbed and ignorant of the world and I couldn't feel for her situation at all since she blooming put herself and others in it. Book was well written though, not for any world savy travelers who do not go blindly to locations that are no go zones.
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on 16 September 2017
This is not an easy read, knowing this is someone's very personal, traumatic life experience. It makes you feel very close to the author and wanting to bind up her wounds. It is gripping, vividly written and opens up the world of Somalia and the ideology driving kidnappings like this globally.
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on 8 July 2017
I literally couldn't put this book down - it's an incredible travelogue, coupled with an incredible, if distressing, story of resilience!
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on 31 July 2017
Excellent read.
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on 20 April 2014
Not entirely unproblematic but told with such searing honesty, self-reflection, courage and humility. This book and the bravery of it's author will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
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on 18 September 2013
If you only read one memoir this year, make it A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett.

Amanda Lindhout is from Alberta, Canada. As a young child living in a turbulent household, she collected and cashed in bottles. And what did she spend her money on? Old National Geographic magazines. Amanda escaped into the pages,dreaming of one day visiting the exotic places pictured.

At nineteen she has saved enough money from waitressing to make those dreams a reality. Her first trip abroad is to Venezuela.

"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."

Lindhout repeats the cycle, earning, then travelling. She visits most of Latin America, India, Burma, Ethiopia, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan and dozens more. Her joy in exploring and experiencing new places and people is tangible. But, each trip she takes is a little further off the beaten path. And finally, she's travelling to some of the most war torn countries in the world.

In Kabul, Afghanistan she begins a career as a fledgling freelance /journalist/photojournalist - with no formal training, associations or contacts. With some success under her belt, she heads next to Baghdad, Iraq to work as a reporter for Iran's Press TV. Moving on from there she decides to head to Mogadishu, Somalia in 2008 - bigger stories might help her career take off faster. She wonders if an old flame, Nigel Brennan, an Aussie photographer wants to join her. He does.......and four days after their arrival in Somalia, they are kidnapped by insurgents from an Islamic fundamentalist group. And, they are held.... for 460 days.

"It was here, finally, that I started to believe this story would be one I'd never get to tell, that I would become an erasure, an eddy in a river pulled suddenly flat. I began to feel certain that, hidden inside Somalia, inside this unknowable and stricken place, we would never be found."

A House in the Sky is Amanda's recounting of those 460 days. She is beaten, starved, chained up, kept in the dark, raped and tortured. These are the facts.

"There are parts of my story that I may one day be able to recover and heal from, and, to whatever degree possible, forget about them and move on. But there are parts of my story that are so horrific that once they are shared, other people's minds will keep them alive."

How she survives is a story that had me tearing up, putting the book down and walking away from it so many times. It's a difficult read, but is such a testament to the human spirit and will.

Amanda names each of the houses they are held in - Bomb-Making House, Electric House, Tacky House and more. But it is the House in the Sky that had me freely sobbing - at the worst of times she builds a house in her mind, filled with the people she loves and the memories she treasures, the future she dreams of.

"I was safe and protected. It was where all the voices that normally tore through my head expressing fear and wishing for death went 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.' "

The journey to their release is gut-wrenching, incredibly powerful and impossible to put down. I stopped many times to look at the smiling author picture of Amanda on the back, wondering how in the world she survived. Survived and forgave. And as I turned the last page, I just sat. Sat and thought. This is a book that will stay with you, long after that last page. Read an excerpt of A House in the Sky.

Amanda Lindhout is the founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation - "a non -profit organization that supports development, aid and education initiatives in Somalia and Kenya
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on 20 September 2014
A difficult book to read at times, just because of the graphic descriptions of what the author endured. Very well written. I lost a fair amount of sleep with reading this, simply had to see a glimmer of hope in the story, before switching off. Quite informative too. A rather fool-hardy woman who, I am certain has learned some very hard lessons in life. Glad to have read it though.
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on 16 September 2016
I have mixed feelings in this book. It is written well and the descriptions of the brutal treatment towards her are vivid and you will feel sick to your stomach reading about what she endured. On the other hand I kept thinking why would you go to this dangerous place with no proper security and little experience like what were you thinking?? What did you think was going to happen? Why did you think you would be lucky to escape the fate of others who went there?
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on 6 November 2014
This story of courage and endurance lays bare the responsibilities each of us have to each other. The horror of Amanda's experience is really incomprehensible to those of us who selfishly inhabit our cosy little ordered lives.We are witnesses to the brutal power of man over women and are reminded again and again of how easy it is to abuse that power. It is incredible Amanda survived her ordeal and even more incredible that she has gained purpose from it. A breath catching story factually told without any sensationalism or embellishment. Alan Spence
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on 11 April 2014
A very gripping book and story of this very brave. Young lady she endured Terrible things whilst held captive but came through it after 15 months. A book you can't put down.
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