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on September 3, 2016
As I read this book, I constantly yearned for more. More about the writer and her inner life. More about the feelings in the moment. Unfortunately, the book doesn't deliver on this until about half way through. Perhaps this is purposeful, but it does make it difficult to invest in the protagonist. Her story is harrowing and it took great courage to live it and write about it.
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on March 3, 2014
This staggering, well written memoir runs the gamut from beauty and wonder to despair and depravity. We hear about the chaos and civil war in Somalia, mostly from afar and through the lens of piracy stories, but this book throws the whole thing into searing personal perspective in the tale of two travelers who were kidnapped and held for ransom by fundamentalist mercenaries. Amanda Lindhout's autobiographical tales of growing up in Canada and traveling to far-flung regions pre-Somalia are fascinating enough and extremely well rendered in crisp, engaging prose. But it's when her travels go disastrously, devastatingly wrong that this story kicks into high gear and your knuckles turn white as you turn page after heart-wrenching page. Of course, the author's survival of the many ordeals she was put through are a given, but they don't make the vividly told tale any less hair raising, as page after page you hope beyond hope that this will be the page in which she is set free. When she finally is, you would forgive the author for being a wrecked shell of a human being who retreats from the world in all of it's ugliness to lick her wounds. But instead, you learn that she has the compassion of a Buddha and is actually doing charitable work geared towards education women in Somalia. Amazing, amazing, amazing...
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on January 12, 2014
I just finished reading this powerful memoir and found myself quite shaken by it. At the start, I found the author to be brash, naive, and self-focused. I was not sure that I would be able to empathize with her (except that I can remember being in my 20's, and having a similar sense of invulnerability). However, the authors do a superb job of pulling the reader into a close identification with the daily humiliations and terror that Amanda sustained throughout her time as a kidnap victim, and to be impressed by the strength of her determination to survive. Some reviewers were put off by her willingness to "convert" to Islam; from my perspective, she tried a number of brilliant strategies to get her captors to see her as a person, as someone they would hesitate to murder. And the fact that she is alive to write this harrowing tale of terror, hatred, hope and redemption is proof that her desperate efforts to survive were ultimately successful. She was at the mercy of boys and young men who had been brainwashed to see her as a "object" in their possession, a potentially lucrative commodity, but not a person for whom they should have concern. As I read her story, I was not at all sure I would have fared as well. I highly recommend this book, but warn the reader that they may walk away experiencing some of that terror as their own.
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on October 31, 2013
What an amazing story! In the beginning we are treated to the adventures of a daring young woman. She works at tending bar and waitressing to get enough money to go on extended trips. She chooses dangerous far away places where creature comforts are lacking. She becomes a photographer and goes to war torn countries to photograph. And she achieves some success at selling her photos to publishers. That is until she and her boyfriend were captured and held for ransom for more than a year.The captors wanted 2 million dollars. Her mother had only a small fraction of that. So the negotiations went on... Amanda tells about the abhorrent conditions she and her boyfriend were kept in, of the tortures she experienced on a daily basis. And yet she found ways to hold on to life, to hold on to hope.The details are graphic. We wonder how she survived. It is a story of Amanda Lindhout's life, and a lesson for all of us. Never give up hope!
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on July 30, 2017
This book takes you on a journey into a nightmare, making you feel that you are the one living it. Although I wanted the author to express more anger and outrage, I understand why her Zen-like attitude must have helped her get through something the rest of us can scarcely imagine. I had many mixed feelings as I read this and I was reminded of that documentary about the man who returned year after year to Alaska to live with bears, tempting fate, until he was finally mauled to death. At the same time, I admire the author's incredible courage.
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on January 9, 2014
I could not stop reading this brave and beautifully written memoir. I was swept into Amanda's difficult childhood and her escape through travel magazines. She exhibited early on her ability to "live in the moment" and her fearlessness. She was able to draw upon her inner strength to save her in the darkest hours. Her grace and forgiveness will amaze...
I spent an entire day reading this and then watched the Dateline interview with Amanda. She is a very intelligent and poised and beautiful young woman.
I was dismayed during my google search to discover she had "critics" ----Those who thought she was foolish and headstrong, putting others in harm's way with her choice to travel to Somalia. Who among us hasn't made choices we wished we hadn't? Her critics need to look deep inside~I wonder how many of them would have been as brave as Amanda.
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on May 9, 2014
This is an amazing story of one person's resilience in the face of unimaginable events. I've known that Somalia is a dangerous place, but this was beyond my imagination. Amanda Lindhout and a companion were kidnapped in Somalia while working as a free lance news team. She had survived many other dangerous places on the planet and thought that this would be more of the same. But Somalia was different. The couple was kidnapped, and the terror and hardships they endured for over a year were way beyond anything I could have imagined. Just when I thought this event was finally coming to an end, the kidnappers would ramp up the terror. I found the book impossible to put down, and I learned a lot about a place in the world that I will NEVER visit. It was very interesting, and I recommend it without hesitation.
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on August 15, 2015
Can't say I loved it, but that's because it was horrible... I don't know how those two people managed to survive what they went through. I remember thinking, "What would possess someone to go into a place so dangerous?
After reading Amanda's story and understand her sad beginnings, I see how she ended up traveling so much and being so driven to succeed in the area of photojournalism. It was the world outside of her world as a little girl. She lived through National Geographic magazines to escape.
It was a very well written story and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.
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on March 3, 2016
The book is well written and the story fascinating. Before reading I noted the negative reviews mostly surrounded the stupid decision that landed the main character in these circumstances. But I think these are more mature reviewers who forget that young people feel invincible and immortal, and yes make dumb decisions and take risks as a result. The reason I give this a four star review is that I found much of the middle boring, the description of the captivity. Nothing much happens, which is not the writers fault, but I found myself skimming to get to some action.
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on October 24, 2013
Amanda Lindhout's account of her and Nigel's horrific kidnapping is a sobering, stick-with-you read. She has incredible recollection of the details of her captivity including the sequence in which things occurred. Her story is told in a chronological and honest feelings way. The details of the horror probably could be recalled so vividly because that was all they knew for 15 months. I felt pain to the degree where I had to put the book down and jump ahead to the present time and read online about her good work in Somalia today before I could pick up the book and proceed with the horrors of the kidnapping again. I recommend the book for its honesty and very real first-hand account of desperate human condition and terroristic religiosity in this world. As well a perspective of the good people in areas of the world where there appears to only be civil unrest to those who read and follow the major news organizations.
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