Friday, August 15, 2014
Wow. What a life experience Amanda Lindhout and her friend Nigel Brennan went through. I applaud their courage to write their stories, and to open themselves up to public opinion by offering up their stories.
I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it out. I knew the cover was appealing (yes, choices can be that base), and that it was a recommended book that made a few top reads lists.
I am not sure where to begin about a book such as this. This is the autobiography (of sorts) of Amanda, starting with some experiences previous to her capture by Somali teenage militants whom were looking for ransom money from Amanda's and Nigel's family in Canada and Australia. As I started to read this book, I realized that I could remember hearing about their story in the news a few years ago (2008) but really didn't dwell on it. I remember images of them when they were free, but really, did not even grasp a glimmer of what they had survived. In many ways, this is much like how you can't really appreciate the experiences of someone else until you have a few of your own, or have the luck (??) to be able to read or experience a slice of what happened to them through whatever form the story journey takes us on.
This is a beautiful and bleak novel. Reading parts of it I could feel my insides clench with something, and feel my opinions shifting. If reading 419 was one thing about Nigeria, this was a whole other thing reading about a personal experience in Somalia. I am glad that I live in a culture that values life, and women. I am glad that I am married to a good man, who loves me for who and what I am. After reading this book I am grateful for many things, including my freedom and the culture and land that I call home. This is not the same around the world and the price of a life here is not the same as other places in this amazing world. This is an important book to read. It is very well written, and as I said in the beginning, I appreciate the courage and honesty it takes to make yourself vulnerable by telling this story. I also appreciate Lindhout's honesty, and humble acknowledge of her naive mistakes and the costs so many people paid. The grace she found within terrible circumstances, it reminded me of reading the "Man's Search for Meaning" by Victor Frankl. Compassion and forgiveness, and consciously choosing to be positive in a world that can be a far cry from this is something that can set any of us apart.