A House in the Sky

A House in the Sky

A Memoir

Book - 2013
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"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"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2013.
ISBN: 9781451651690
Characteristics: 373 pages ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Corbett, Sara (Journalist)


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May 17, 2019


mazinwhistler Jan 03, 2019

A well written memoir. This book was moving in so many ways...Amanda’s story is inspiring. Hard to believe that I didn't know it happened!

Amanda, a Canadian freelance journalist from Alberta, likes traveling around the world. She visits Kabul, Baghdad, Addis Ababa, Cairo, and finally, Somalia, where she is a captured and kept in captivity for 460 days. The book is a moving account of how Amanda stayed alive and how strength, endurance and the spirit of forgiveness can help a person to survive even the darkest moments. I was really inspired and touched by the journey Amanda has made and her willingness to share this story and to forgive her abusers. (Submitted by Ilona)

Jul 05, 2018

I'm surprised so many have said that the first chapters were slow and dragged on. I really appreciated hearing her travels and her descriptions of the exotic places that she visited. Places that most people will never in their lifetime visit.
What a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down. I was in awe of the strength and resilience that carried her through.

May 29, 2018

A harrowing memoir of a young Canadian woman held captive in Somalia for 15 months. Unfortunately for Amanda, she was blamed and judged for her experience. Why was she in such a dangerous country etc.? I think she does a good job explaining how it all came about. Though some said the beginning of the book was slow, I think she needed to show her great experiences with travel before Somalia--even in countries she was told not to go to like Pakistan and Afghanistan. This set up her decision to go to Somalia (along with being young and naive). While being held captive she showed strength of mind and spirit beyond expectation. Especially frustrating and crazy was the description of her attempted escape. Great reading even if you don't think you like nonfiction.

Jan 22, 2018

I missed my bus stop while reading this it was so good! That said, the first 15 chapters or so drag on for far too long. If the first part had been condensed, I would have rated it 5 full stars.

Jul 21, 2017

Real and powerful, this story is still on my mind after eighteen months. Beautifully written.

Mar 26, 2017

What comes through for me is Lindhout’s honesty – her willingness to own her impetuous decisions that landed her in this harrowing 15-month ordeal. I admire her strong minded attempt to stay positive, her resilience and resourcefulness, and her empathetic decision after her release to start a non-profit to help educate young Somalis. It’s a balanced account of her experience, told with introspection and the fullness of her human spirit.

Mar 08, 2017

Though she claims twice in the book that she wasn't naive, she sure came across as naive or worse. That being said, the harrowing tale of her ordeal should not be faced by anyone. The book is presented in a matter of fact way on how she approached her captivity. Mostly interesting, it is worth reading if you are interested.

Jan 09, 2017

A haunting and powerful memoir. I did find the early days dragged a bit - could have condensed this. When Amanda was planning her trip to Somalia I thought why on earth would she go there!? The experiences she and Nigel endured were beyond what many of us could deal with. To compare these captors to animals is insulting to animals who don't torture and only kill to survive. Amanda's enduring strength and willingness to live despite everything is awesome.

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Sep 07, 2018

bleuettr thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jul 11, 2018

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Oct 28, 2014


... Travel gave me something to talk about, something to be. That I'd just been to Nicaragua or was thinking about going to Ethiopia seemed, in the eyes of the people I encountered at work, to override the fact I hadn't been to college or that I was late in getting a round of dirty mojitos to table nine. It helped erase the past, too, allowing me to duck questions about where I'd grown up or who my parents were. Among travelers, talking about the past usually meant talking about the just passed. The expiration date on old experiences came quickly. What mattered most was where you were going next.


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