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13 March 2015

A House in the Sky: A Memoir

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett is a memoir of a time when Amanda was kidnapped and held for ransom in Somalia.

At nineteen, Amanda decided she wanted to travel. She saved money earned as a cocktail waitress and she and her boyfriend went to Venezuela - where she became enamored of discovering new places.

For the next few years Lindhout alternately spent enough time at home in Canada to save money then spent it on travel. By 2008 she had been to more than forty countries. Along the way she had met some great people who became her friends. One, Nigel, was a photographer and gave her the idea to pursue a job that could be part travel.

Amanda worked a freelance journalist and photographer, and even as a news anchor for an English language station in Baghdad.

In August of 2008, she traveled to Somalia to follow a story on the civil war there. Nigel flew in to join her. As with any country where it is dangerous for Westerners to travel, she wisely found a guide to keep them safe and help plan their days. After arriving in Mogadishu, they planned to visit a refugee camp that was helping people displaced by the war and differing factions fighting in the city. On the way to that camp, their car was stopped by men with guns.

Amanda, Nigel and their three guides were kidnapped. A ransom of 1.5 million dollars was demanded for the release of each Amanda and Nigel. Amanda's family had no where near that amount of money. What followed was more than a year of captivity.

Written in a fast-paced, gripping narrative, A House in the Sky is engrossing and will keep readers up late while they devour the pages. Knowing Amanda survived to write a book does little to ease the tension you will feel while reading. Read this gut-wrenching tribute to the human spirit.

Lindhout, Amanda and Sara Corbett. (2013). A House in the Sky. New York: Scribner.

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