I never used to find memoirs appealing until recently. In my head there was this preconceived notation that all memoirs are boring and dull. Call it teenage ignorance or just being naive, either way, I was so very, very wrong. A House in the Sky has all the makings of a breathtaking and immensely interesting memoir about a woman who was held captive in Somalia for 15 months.
A House in the Sky starts off with a glimpse into Amanda Lindhout's childhood in a rural town of Alberta, Canada. As a child Amanda would dumpster dive with one of her brothers to collect bottles to return for cash. Amanda's bottle money was put to good use as she began to purchase old copies of National Geographic. She found that as her stack of magazines accumulated, so did her longing to travel.
Finally, at the age of 19, Amanda and her boyfriend at the time got out of Canada and spent 6 months in backpacking in South America. South America became a gateway destination for Amanda that led her to go on and backpack through many countries including Asia, Africa, Iran, and even Somalia.
Ridden with war, religious tensions and poverty, Somalia is often labeled as one of the most dangerous places in the world, especially for women. At 26 years old, Amanda and her ex-boyfriend, Nigel, knew the risk they were taking when they decided to do some freelance reporting in part of Somalia. After a short time there, Amanda and Nigel were kidnapped by a group of Somalian men and held for a ransom of 1.5 million dollars each. A combined 3 million dollars for two westerners is not uncommon. In actuality, the kidnapping of westerners is a common occurrence in Somalia. and to the horror of Amanda and Nigel, there are laws set in place that stop foreign countries from paying ransoms. Amanda knows her family can't afford the ransom. She's well too aware of what happens to those whose families can't pay ransoms.
Against the odds, Amanda survives 15 brutal months in captivity.
A House in the Sky is a recollection of what happened during those 15 months. Amanda's bravery is awe-inspiring, it impossible to read this memoir and not be sucked into the world she became a part of. I can not recommend this book enough, it's simply a must read.