Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Time for Another Book Review...
Lindhout grew up in a broken home near Calgary, Alberta, and dreamed of travelling to exotic destinations as she "escaped" her difficult home situation by reading old National Geographic magazines. Once she finished high school she moved to Calgary and began working as a waitress, saving her tips to fund her dreams of world travel. It wasn't long before she slipped into a routine of work, travel, work, travel, work, travel. But she didn't travel to the "usual" destinations. No "twenty-something carefree backpacking jaunt around continental Europe" for her. She was truly into more "exotic" locales, like Venezuela, most of Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia.... then on to more unconventional and remote destinations, on her own: Sudan, Syria, Pakistan. Each trip gave her confidence and fueled her curiosity to continue seeing the world. By the time she traveled to war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq she had decided to try her hand at journalism. With no formal training, she began as a freelance journalist in Kabul, then moved on to Baghdad to report for Iran's Press TV. From there she decided to go to Mogadishu, Somalia, one of the most dangerous places on earth, and an area under-represented by journalists. She asked a former boyfriend and fellow traveler, Aussie photographer Nigel Brennan, to join her and he accepted. Several days after their arrival in Somalia they were kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalist insurgents, and held prisoner for 15 months.
What followed for the remaining 2/3 of the book was not an easy read. Lindhout was beaten, starved, chained in a dark room, sexually abused and tortured. It is difficult to read, but impossible to put down. To call it a compelling read, a page-turner, is putting it mildly. This story is a testament to courage and hope, and the human spirit. Amanda is clearly a woman of great strength, remaining positive in her outlook despite the captivity and brutal treatment they both endured. She refused to be broken.
I won't give away any more of the story, but obviously they both escaped. Today Amanda is an award-winning humanitarian, social activist, public speaker and the founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation. She has chosen forgiveness over anger and bitterness, starting this organization to empower and educate women in Somalia, the very country where she was held captive for 460 days. You can read more about Amanda Lindhout here. And... you must read her book. Trust me, you will be a changed person after.. if nothing else, you will appreciate your freedom.
"Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul." ~ Joyce Carol Oates