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At the age of 18, 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. 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 15 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Eric Schurr on 10-07-13
Incredible story! Very well written and delivered
I loved this entire book and was only disappointed when it was over. After the initial chapters in which you learn what kind of person Amanda is, the story becomes fascinating, horrifying, uplifting, and disturbing, all at once. I listened to it during my commute to/from work and every day I couldn't wait to get into the car.
Amanda does a great job of reading the book, and because she is the author she really delivers a deep feeling for what the story is about.
Listen to it. You'll love it.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
By Patricia on 10-08-13
Put down, cry, pick up, sigh...
What made the experience of listening to A House in the Sky the most enjoyable?
Voice of author was compelling....true, gritty, vicariously compelling. A can't stop read of life at its most despicable and most enduring. Somalia's reporting is best left for the pro's, but I doubt they would have lived to tell this macabre a story. I heard Richard Engle speak in DC this summer, at the fallen journalists memorial at Newseum; his comments confirmed an even broader belief that this could - and does happen. Lindhout is so naive a character that you want to shake her out of dreamland. When you finally want to hug her, you can't...she's so broken. But then the healing begins.
Which character – as performed by Amanda Lindhout – was your favorite?
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
"House of Light is filled with enough darkness to push us into the outer realms of human belief. The light will come, but in ways that totally surprise you."
5 of 5 people found this review helpful