A Book & Movie Review of A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout/Sarah Corbett
A House in the Sky is a first-person recount from the victim of a kidnapping in Somalia who was held in captivity for fifteen months. Amanda starts traveling and jet setting at the young age of nineteen, and like most of us with wanderlust, she wants to travel everywhere and see everything. Originally from a small town in the province of Alberta in Canada, she waitresses and saves all her money for travel. Once she returns back home she replenishes her travel fund and sets off into the world again. Her trips have taken her through Latin America, India, Syria, Pakistan and Sudan. In Afghanistan and Iraq, Amanda becomes a fledgling TV reporter and journalist. Depending on the reader’s perspective, Amanda’s personality can be described as courageous, inventive, persistent, and she always maintains a faith in the world around her. The flip side is that she naively believes she is invincible and is lacking in the common sense department. You’ll have to decide for yourself.
The First 140 Pages…
The total length of the book is 367 pages. The first 140 pages are a recount of Amanda’s childhood and travels around the world. Not too much excitement in these pages, but then the real story begins.
Amanda travels to Somalia as a photojournalist with the intention of reporting on the fighting in the war-zone. Along for the journey is her ex-boyfriend Nigel who she convinced to accompany her on this adventure. However, on the fourth day they are both robbed and kidnapped. The criminal group who abducts them is looking for a 3-million-dollar payout from the Canadian and Australian governments. When the money is not forthcoming, they are separated and face starvation, torture and rape. In an effort to make things easier on themselves, they both convert to Islamic faith.
15 Awful Months Later
Basically the phrase “we do not negotiate with terrorists” holds true for most governments. It would set a bad precedent. Unfortunately, Amanda grew up extremely poor, which is documented in the earlier chapters, and her family does not have the liquidity to pay off the ransom. Nigel’s family is wealthier, and in the end both families pool together $600,000 and hire a private specialist to return their children to them.
Upcoming Movie Adaptation
Look for this book to be adapted into a movie in the near future. The rights have already been purchased by Hollywood. It will be interesting to see how close the movie plot follows the book story line.
An Audience Divided: Mixed Reviews
Well, where do we start with this? A House in the Sky is definitely a novel that will stay with you. At the very least it’s a controversial and conflicting read. Through the flowing storytelling, it’s very easy to put yourself in Amanda or Nigel’s positions. However, to really enjoy the novel, you are first going to have to get past the following things:
- The part where you blame Amanda for the whole ordeal including going to Somalia
- For convincing Nigel to come along on the trip and getting kidnapped as well
- That no one ever dreamed bigger for her than being a waitress/photojournalist/blowing her life savings on travel
- That through Amanda’s naivety, her feelings of being invincible, and getting by with improperly planning a trip are essentially the choices that led to the story’s end result
- Any feelings you might have about her wasting government time, media coverage, and resources in trying to save her from the ordeal
- The book is really depressing
Read It Or Leave It?
If somehow you can get past all of that, you should read A House in the Sky. The story of Amanda Lindhout will stay with you. Once you read the words, they burn into your memory. It’s hard to forget the tale of a young woman who went against all odds to survive a very traumatic fifteen month capture. It is also a reminder or perhaps a wake-up call for all of the travelers out there who are foolishly interested in visiting every country (country counting) and disregarding government warnings for avoiding visiting certain places. Despite globalization, there are still places in this world where the lack of safety outweighs the benefit of seeing it, and in 2008, Somalia was one of them. Let this book be one where you can learn through the eyes of someone who suffered a very difficult life experience.
Like This? PIN IT!
Latest posts by Carolynne (see all)
- On Life, Love & Loss: Is Long-Term #Travel Selfish? - May 12, 2017
- Tax Time Tips: Maximize Your Return So You Can Travel! - April 27, 2017
- Read It Or Leave It Part 7: A House In The Sky - April 17, 2017