Book Talk: A House in the Sky

9:00:00 PM

It's December, and that means I'm in the final leg of my personal challenge to write about each of the books I read this year. I've been dotting my i's and crossing my t's, when I discovered that there was one book this year that I'd completely failed to talk about, and it's one that I absolutely loved!

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, at least not recreationally. That's what made this read such gut punch. A House in the Sky defies description in a way that most books don't. When I think beyond the beauty of the people and places and start to process that these experiences were the reality of one woman's life...it brings weight to the words in a way that I can't explain.

A House in the Sky is a memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a young Canadian born with wanderlust and the determination to make it happen. Saving her waitressing tips to go backpacking, she continues traveling farther and farther and to more dangerous regions, eventually becoming a news reporter, before being abducted in Somalia and held hostage for over a year.

What begins with beautiful, lulling descriptions of exotic locales quickly gains momentum as Lindhout, together with writer Sara Corbett, find words to describe the horrific and unthinkable situation that became Lindhout's reality. I flew through the pages, forgetting everything going on around me, engrossed in beautiful descriptions of Somalia, terrifying depictions of torture, starvation, and sexual abuse, and powerful and affirming moments of resilience, where rather than ending her imprisonment, she transcends it, managing, unbelievably, to embrace her humanity rather than cast it away.

When you might expect fear or anger to be at the forefront, Lindhout displays remarkable kindness and a capacity for forgiveness that I'm not sure many people possess. A House in the Sky is a story that has remained with me, deep in my bones, long after I turned the last page with tears streaming down my face. This memoir is more than just a retelling of harrowing experiences; it's a reminder that though most of us will never endure half the challenges that she has faced, we can at least aim to conquer our own challenges with that same beauty, dignity, determination, and grace.

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