Top positive review
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Incredible Book no matter how you feel about the author
on December 31, 2013
This book documents the kidnapping of Amanda Lindhout and a fellow journalist in Somalia, but the first part of the book also details the author's childhood and other travels. The background is essential to the main story because it gives the reader a sense of who the author is, her curiosity for the world, her adventurous nature and makes you relate to her and empathize with her during her kidnapping.
There has been some criticism of the author and her naiveté in going to a place like Somalia, but there are two things I would like to mention that made this book incredible and different:
1. At no point does the author indulge in self-pity, which considering her circumstances, is an incredible feat. She describes her kidnapping in vivid detail including the emotional and physical abuse that she suffers, but there is no under-lying attempt to gain sympathy or self-pity. She comes across as incredibly strong and that one does feel immense sympathy for the horrendous circumstances that she was in is due to the nature of what she underwent.
2. The author also has incredible control over her portrayal of Somalia and its people. Somalia is a foreign country to most people, considering that it is not a tourist destination and any news coming from the country generally tends to be about violence and war. In that situation, it is very easy for unaware readers to make vast generalizations about Somalians and the country itself based on Lindhout's experience. But she makes sure to never make any generalization about the country, and goes as far as to attempt to understand the reasons behind her kidnappers' actions. After the reading the book, I got a sense that Somalia is a dangerous country due to its political circumstances but I made no other assumptions about it.
Above all I really recommend this book as a story of human survival and resilience amidst the harshest of circumstances.