Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: A House in the Sky

A House in the Sky ~ Amanda Lindhout

I put off reading this book for a long time.  While being held hostage for a huge ransom only because you are white, is never acceptable. I felt Lindhout had never taken responsibility for her conscious decision to travel to Somalia, a travel destination the Canadian government had highly recommended against.  I still feel the same.

The friend who recommended I read this book felt Lindhout’s early life, her obsession with used National Geographic magazines, explained her eagerness to travel and see the world.  But I just had real trouble connecting sympathetically with the author.  She made a lot of poor choices.  She was naive and narcissistic.  

This book tells of her life as a highly paid cocktail waitress in Calgary, her early travels with her boyfriend.  On one trip she met Nigel Brennen, and his love of photography, Lindhout began to see that as a possible profession for herself.  But purchasing an expensive camera and putting yourself in a war zone – in the most dangerous country in the world, with no credentials, no magazine backing you, does not make you responsible.

The other problem I had with Lindhout’s story was the names she remembered for her captors, the travel details, the food she ate during her imprisonment, the bathrooms at the various houses where she was imprisoned for fifteen months.  How does one remember all of that in that situation?  She had very limited access to writing materials, she was raped, tortured, starved, kept in the dark for days, isolated at times – yet she remembers when she was fed canned tuna and which days she had hot dog buns???

As you, the reader, can tell, I am not a fan of this book.  The writing was good, the timeline was perfect, the premise was just unbelievable to me and I felt it was not worth the time I spent reading it.

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