Last weekend was my ideal weekend as a book lover. Over the course of three days (Monday was Victoria Day holiday) I finished reading my 19th book of the year. Today
The weekend started with a long drive on Friday evening after solid week of work. I spent two hours reading with very few distractions, and made a great start on the book. Saturday was a beautiful day and I got to read outside and go kayaking. Sunday it rained for most of the day, which was ideal for me because it meant I could lounge around inside and finish almost 150 pages. And Monday was another beautiful day – the perfect conditions to finish my book.
And I have to say that I chose a great book to read over a long weekend. It was the perfect length and it was one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read.
One Day Closer is a true story written by the mother of a journalist who was kidnapped and held for over a year in Somalia. Lorinda Stewart, mother of Amanda Lindhout, became intricately involved with the Canadian government’s attempts to get her daughter back from a country that is incredibly dangerous for foreigners. Stewart became the head negotiator in her daughter’s case, despite having literally no training whatsoever. She eventually had to turn to private security companies and fundraising to continue her efforts to bring her daughter home.
One Day Closer was very honest. Stewart, who writes very well and keeps the story concise and linear, doesn’t make any attempt to hide who she is. Her trauma and distress come across clearly throughout the book, and her anger, courage and fear are palpable. She is very honest in her descriptions of the people and organizations she had to work with to bring her daughter home.
What I really liked about Stewart’s narrative was that she didn’t put on a façade of being the brave hero. She openly admitted to the mental and physical health issues she struggled with and the breakdowns she suffered after particularly bad negotiations with her daughter’s captors. Stewart turned to nature, meditation, and family to get through the crisis.
I also really, really liked that Stewart didn’t use the horrifying, upsetting details of her daughter’s captivity as the main hook of the story. She didn’t try to imagine what Amanda was going through, and instead wrote only about the experiences she had on the home front. The book wasn’t gratuitous or upsetting, and it gave Amanda the chance to tell her own story when she came home on her own terms.
Amanda Lindhout, who was kidnapped with her photographer Nigel Brennan, has written her own account of her experiences in a book called A House In The Sky. I have added it to my reading list, and am very interested to see what the differences between her story and her mothers’ are.
If you are interested in journalism, war, intelligence, or just want to read a story about a very inspiring woman, this may be the book for you.