A House in the Sky Summary & Study Guide

Amanda Lindhout
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A House in the Sky Summary & Study Guide Description

A House in the Sky Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout.

Amanda Lindhout was raised in a poor family, the middle daughter of three children. Her parents divorced when she was young and her father announced that he was gay, moving into a stable relationship with another man. Amanda's mother, meanwhile, moved from one bad relationship to another. Amanda and her older brother became closer when they moved into a new neighborhood with few friends. It was her brother who discovered that they could retrieve recyclables in the dumpsters in the neighborhood, earning the two a little spending money. With that money, Amanda purchased old copies of “National Geographic” and used those to escape her dreary existence.

When she turned eighteen, Amanda moved to the nearby city of Calgary with her boyfriend, Jamie. They were barely able to pay the rent at some points, but Amanda held to the dream that she wanted to travel. She found a job as a hostess and began bringing in large amounts of money in tips. With that, she and Jamie began making serious plans for travel. They chose South America for their first destination. At first, Amanda was cautious, refusing to eat the native fruits and doing everything she could to be safe. After a few days of traveling, she became more relaxed and was soon ignoring all the things that had scared her at first. Amanda's relationship with Jamie came to an end but she continued to travel. In Bangladesh, she had trouble finding a room because she was a woman traveling alone. There was a frightening situation in which a rickshaw driver headed in the wrong direction but Amanda escaped unharmed. Later, she was robbed at gunpoint in Kabul.

In 2006, Amanda met Nigel Brennan. She was captivated and introduced herself. She discovered that he was a photographer on assignment and the idea that Amanda might make money by selling photos and stories became a new driving force in her life. She felt it would be a way to have someone else pay for her travels. She and Nigel had a brief affair, ended when he called her later and tearfully announced that he was married.

Amanda began making plans to travel to Somalia but didn't have the funds to make the trip alone. She contacted Nigel, now divorced, and he agreed to meet her and share the cost of the trip. The two hired a man to help ensure their safety with information and bodyguards. They planned to visit a woman who had established a camp to help victims of the violence prevalent in the region but their car was stopped by soldiers on the way. Nigel, Amanda, their driver and the soldiers who were supposed to be protecting them were all taken hostage. This began the nightmare of captivity that would last more than a year.

Amanda initially took the lead with the soldiers who were holding them hostage, talking to them repeatedly and insisting they see her as a real person. The conditions weren't too bad at first and Amanda felt they would be released soon. The soldiers, however, believed that the families of Amanda and Nigel would each pay million-dollar ransoms. Amanda realized that raising even a fraction of that amount would put her family in serious financial debt and initially told them not to take any action. Later, when she was brutalized and fearful that she would soon be killed, she begged her mother to pay the ransom. The months rocked on and Amanda sometimes lost hope though she always found a reason to continue living. There were months of negotiations until Amanda and Nigel were eventually released, their families having paid some six hundred thousand dollars to the kidnappers. They made their way out of the country and returned home where Amanda said she had to learn to deal with the physical and emotional fallout of the months of captivity. She also had to learn to forgive herself for taking an action that cost her family and friends so much worry and money.

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This section contains 668 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A House in the Sky Study Guide
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