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Author: Lindhout, A. & Corbett, S.
Publisher: Scribner
Year Published: 2013
ISBN: 978-1451645613
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

A House in the Sky

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I first heard Amanda’s story when she was a keynote at a teachers’ convention. There must have been 3000 people in the packed room and while she told her story not a murmur could be heard. This memoir is just as captivating. She begins by telling the story of a child from a dysfunctional family. To escape, she travels to Calgary after high school, where she earns enough money as a waitress to begin her lifelong dream of travelling the world. She went from South America to Asia to increasingly more risky trips into Pakistan, Syria, and Afghanistan. While working as a freelance journalist, Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, an Australian photographer, travelled to Somalia where they are kidnapped and held for ransom. A ransom that both the Canadian and Australian governments refused to pay. She writes of her months of captivity with an honesty that at times is difficult to read. She talks about the teenage soldiers who guarded them with an understanding voice that places no blame on the teenage boys that brutalized her while in captivity. She is betrayed by Nigel, beaten and sexually abused and, as her health declines, she creates a house in the sky to hold everything she loves. Teens will appreciate the honesty and be inspired by the survival of Lindhout. They will also be amazed by forgiveness that Lindhout demonstrates by her current work establishing a school for Somalian refugees in Nairobi.

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