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A house in the sky : a memoir
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2013
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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Lindhout, with coauthor Corbett, recounts her 15 months in captivity at the hands of Somalian kidnappers in this harrowing memoir. Growing up in Alberta, Canada, Lindhout used her spending money to purchase old issues of National Geographic. As a young woman, she yearned to venture to the exotic places she saw on its pages and soon found she could save up enough money waitressing to fund months' worth of travel. Starting with Venezuela at age 19, she eventually journeyed to India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Deciding to pursue a career as a journalist, she ventured first into Iraq and then convinced Nigel, a former lover turned friend, to join her in Somalia. Four days into their visit, they were taken hostage by Somali bandits, most of whom were young teens. The kidnappers demanded outrageous ransoms from their parents, and began to treat Lindhout, far more than her male counterpart, with increasing brutality. Writing with immediacy and urgency, Lindhout and Corbett recount the horrific ordeal in crisp, frank, evocative prose. But what readers will walk away with is an admiration for Lindhout's deep reserves of courage under unimaginable circumstances. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

At age 18, Lindhout left behind a tough upbringing in Alberta, Canada, to travel the world, eventually launching a career as a TV reporter. In 2008, a few days after landing in Mogadishu, Somalia, she was abducted with photojournalist Nigel Brennan and held in chains for 15 months. Here, she explains how she survived by imagining that she was in "a house in the sky." Upbeat ending: after her release, she founded an organization to help the Somali people. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

[Page 61]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Reviews

Held for 15 months in Somalia by ransom-hungry jihadists who captured her, friend Nigel, and three Somali assistants only days after she had landed in the country; shackled for ten months following an attempted escape; rotated through a series of vermin-infested rooms; raped, beaten, and left half-starved, dehydrated, and with abscessed teeth when she was finally released, Lindhout responded by founding the Global Enrichment Foundation to help the people of Somalia—a fact she mentions briefly in an entirely un-self-congratulatory epilog. That's all you need to know to appreciate this remarkably keen-eyed, honest, and radiant memoir, written with accomplished journalist Corbett. Lindhout starts with her hardscrabble upbringing in western Canada, her desire to travel fueled by National Geographic ("my world, I was pretty certain, was elsewhere"), then details trips throughout Latin America and Asia. Inspired by journalists she met to launch her own career, she did a brief stint in Baghdad, then headed for Somalia, reportedly the most dangerous country on Earth—but, as she said, "I'd always been off to one side, enjoying the good." The bad found her, yet there's less anger here than thoughtful observation and the desire that readers understand. VERDICT Moving and informative reading for everyone. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/13.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

[Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Canadian journalist Lindhout gives a well-honed, harrowing account of her 459-day captivity at the hands of Somali Islamist rebels. Bit by the travel bug early in her life, partly due to the stultifying conditions at home in Sylvan Lake, in Alberta, Canada, where she lived with her single mom and abusive Native American boyfriend, Lindhout was attracted to the exotic world depicted within the pages of National Geographic and vowed to "go somewhere" as soon as she could. Working at an Alberta nightclub called the Drink, Lindhout was able to cobble together money to travel over the years, eventually finding herself in Africa and the Middle East, freelancing as a photographer and journalist and having a love affair with a (married) Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan. Convinced war-torn Somalia would be the "hurricane" to make her career, in August 2008, at age 25, she and Nigel flew to Mogadishu, and, with a "fixer" and an SUV full of official "guards," set off to view a displaced-persons' camp but was instead carjacked by a group of kidnappers who demanded millions from the Westerners' families. Her captors moved her frequently from hideout to hideout, and she eventually converted to Islam ("They can't kill us if we convert," she told Nigel), was separated from Nigel, and was raped and tortured. Lindhout attempted escape but no one came to her aid. She and Nigel miraculously survived as their families and governments dickered over ransom negotiations. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Annotations

"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"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

"The spectacularly dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity about the world led her to the world's most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity--a beautifully written story of courage, resilience, and grace. At the age of eighteen, Amanda Lindhout moved from her hardscrabble hometown to the big city and worked as a cocktail waitress, 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 went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to 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. A House in the Sky illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of Lindhout's young guards and the men in charge of them. She is kept in chains, nearly starved, and subjected to horrific abuse. She survives by imagining herself in a "house in the sky," finding strength and hope in the power of her own mind. Lindhout's decision to counter the violence she endured by founding an organization to help educate Somali people women is a moving testament to the power of compassion and forgiveness"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Documents the author's backpacking tours through some of the world's most dangerous and war-ridden regions, describing her work as a fledgling television reporter, her brutal 15-month incarceration in Somalia and her founding of a non-profit organization to promote aid, development and education. 150,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

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.

The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity—an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace

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.

Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, A House in the Sky is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity. - (Simon and Schuster)

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