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A House in the Sky: A Memoir Paperback – June 17, 2014
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“Lindhout manages to tell her story and to transcend it. Her account stands as a nonfiction companion to Emma Donoghue’s shattering, haunting novel about captivity, Room.” -- Emily Bazelon, Slate
“A poetic, profound, and thrilling exploration of one woman’s misadventure set against the backdrop of global terrorism…Elegant and evocative.” -- Rebecca Johnson, Vogue
“A great book…The lesson [Amanda Lindhout] taught me and others who know this remarkable young woman is: What matters is not how you got there, but what you do once you’ve arrived.” -- Robert Draper, ELLE
“[A] harrowing, beautifully written memoir….The wide-eyed optimism and unflappable determination that led [Amanda Lindhout] to danger also kept her alive…A brave, compassionate and inspiring triumph.” -- Korina Lopez, USA Today (4-star review)
“A riveting memoir…”, Good Housekeeping
“A searingly unsentimental account…Ultimately, it is compassion—for her naïve younger self, for her kidnappers—that becomes the key to [Lindhout’s] survival.” -- Holly Morris, O, the Oprah magazine
“Keenly observed and sprinkled with arresting details, A House in the Sky is more than one woman’s heartbreaking tale of captivity. The book sheds light on a conflict area not often painted with nuance. It dares to explore the outer reaches of human empathy. A stunning, haunting, and redemptive read, Lindhout’s story is one that stays with you long after the book has been closed.” -- Grace Bello, The Christian Science Monitor
“An elegant and wrenching memoir…”, The Daily Beast
“[A] remarkably keen-eyed, honest, and radiant memoir…Moving and informative reading for everyone.” -- Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
About the Author
Sara Corbett is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. Her work has also appeared in National Geographic; Elle; Outside; O, The Oprah Magazine; Esquire; and Mother Jones.
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1451645619
- ISBN-13 : 978-1451645613
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.38 inches
- Publisher : Scribner; Reprint Edition (June 17, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Many readers love starting a new book but it’s my least favorite part of reading since it usually takes some time to draw me in. Here, I was hooked on page one and it never let me go. The first third of the book is fascinating and enticing, focusing on her early life and traveling adventures. Once she is taken it is even more riveting, now in a nail biting way. It is brutal but beautiful, harrowing but hopeful. Amanda’s story is one of forgiveness and resilience, told in an honest, evocative voice. It will stick with me and is, without question, a favorite memoir read.
Recommend for: Anyone interested in understanding how someone can overcome extreme adversity and anguish. Those looking for a story of strength and survival. Readers who prefer their nonfiction to read like fiction.
May not be for you if: You’re very sensitive. (The writing of what happened to Amanda while held captive is not gratuitous, but it is difficult to read especially knowing that it’s true). You hate senseless risk taking. (Amanda willingly puts herself in dangerous situations but speaks frankly about her naive feelings of invincibility, associated guilt, and ultimately forgiveness).
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.
Top reviews from other countries
Amanda is from Alberta in Canada and had an interesting childhood during which she witnessed her Mum being beaten by her boyfriend. Amanda used to collect old National Geographic magazines that she used as a form of escape, dreaming of one day visiting the exotic places pictured. From the age of 19, Amanda travelled to various places always coming back to Canada to earn enough money to fund her next trip. As she travels, the destinations that Amanda travels to get more and more dangerous. She makes many friends along the way and decided to do a trip to Somali with her Australian friend, Nigel. Once in Somali, they are both captured and what follows is a horrific account of the next 460 days of their lives.
I liked the style of writing that Amanda uses and I found her path easy to follow and understand. I liked that we learnt a bit of her childhood and background as I think this shows how she makes the decisions that she does and how she handles the situations that she finds herself in. She is a very brave woman that has been through a lot.