This book is a true story of a woman who spent more than a year in captivity in Somalia! It starts at the very beginning – with the childhood of Amanda. How, where and in what circumstances she grew up. Once she grew up, she took up a job as a waitress and one fine day she decided that she would save money from her job and try to travel and see the world. So she started saving money and soon she’d enough to make her first trip. After her trip she was fueled up and realized that she would like to do it more often. So it became a regular feature with her – save money for a few months and then travel to some far away place. As she started to do it more often, she became more bold and courageous; and started to venture into dangerous lands. Some didn’t do any damage to her, while some others almost cost her her life. One such being Somalia.
Almost the first half of the book is about her background – her growing up, travelling the world and so on. The second half is all about her captivity. It’s heart rendering and hair raising and sometimes hard to absorb (and that makes you wonder that if you can’t even read it how did this woman take it all in and still maintain her courage). Somewhere there she mentions that she always thought that at heart every person was good but experiencing what she was, she wasn’t sure of that anymore. I couldn’t agree more – I too would always like to believe that inside each of us there’s good but when you see humans treating other humans like they wouldn’t even treat animals, you have to tell yourself that no there are people who are inherently bad. There’s another anecdote that stuck with me. On one of her trips, in Afghanistan, she met with a sudanese woman in prison. She was there for drug trafficking. The imprisoned woman told her that she was sorry that she did what she did and that could Amanda please help her get out of prison. To which the author replied that somebody ought to pay for the crime that she committed. When the author was in captivity, she remembered this instance and realized that she was so wrong to not offer any consolation to her. It made me realize that before trying to be “right”, we should always try to put ourselves in others’ position. What the author said was not wrong, but in that situation nobody needed to hear right/wrong. One needed to hear what would be good for the heart.
The book is very well written. Since I’d read the summary I knew this was about the author being kidnapped so I spent the first half of the book for that to happen. I would highly recommend reading it.