A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett

When she is kidnapped in Somalia by Muslim extremists, an aspiring photojournalist sends her mind to a peaceful “house in the sky” to keep her soul intact during the brutalities of her year-long captivity.

After reading A House in the Sky, when my older daughter said she wanted to go to “all the countries” and learn “all the languages,” I was like, “NOOOOOO!” Amanda Lindhout’s journey began with her insatiable wanderlust, as a backpacker for whom no country was too rough. She attempted to launch a journalism career in Baghdad, even getting embedded, but she made some rookie mistakes and those doors ended up being closed. Deciding she needed to break new ground, she got a visa to spend a month in Somalia, one of the most lawless places in the world. She convinced an ex-lover to travel with her, and after being there only a few days both were kidnapped for ransom.

Pretty much every terrible thing short of beheadment happens to Amanda. She’s starved, beaten, shackled, and raped. She converts to Islam hoping that will protect her, but it doesn’t. Her co-captive alternately bonds with her and rejects her. Yet throughout her ordeal, her mental toughness prevails and brings her to a truly amazing place. I liked that the brutalities were not described in detail and she found a way to communicate more than just the physicality of what happened to her. You don’t need a strong stomach to read this book and it’s really worth going on this journey with Amanda Lindhout.

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