I found the book to be an incredible memoir. Though neither is a particularly close parallel, I actually found it somewhat reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s Room as well as the motion picture Captain Phillips. I really liked Donoghue’s novel, which tells the story of a woman who was kidnapped and eventually bears the child of her captor. This is a work of fiction, told from the point of the boy, whose mother shelters her son from the horrors of their existence, attempting to protect his childhood and his innocence. What was particularly striking about this book was the descriptions of the conditions, conveyed so clearly that it was as if the reader was there as well. Additionally, it was the incredibly strong voice and tone that really carried the narrative in Room.
I felt as if The House in the Sky was similarly strong in terms of the ability to paint the scene, to create a very visual image through description of what the room in which Amanda was kept was like. I thought that it seemed like a very honest portrayal of her evolving mental and physical state as time progressed. Whether you agree with her choices and her voluntary entry into these extremely dangerous countries and situations (I recognize that the summary might be enough for some to say “forget it, she sought out danger and that’s what she found”), the voice that comes out of the darkness is one that I found to be incredibly relatable.
Nevertheless, if you’ve seen / read and liked either Room or Captain Phillips, I think this memoir will resonate. A note for those more sensitive, there is physical and sexual violence in the book. In the end, I thought A House in the Sky was well written and compelling, and I enjoyed reading it.