Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reading: Even Silence Has an End by Ingrid Betancourt


Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle I am just finishing up Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle by Ingrid Betancourt. I saw Ingrid interviewed on Oprah a month or so ago and immediately requested this one from the library. Ingrid Betancourt was a Colombian presidential candidate who was abducted and held hostage in the jungle for six grueling years. Ingrid was absolutely captivating during the interview, her story unbelievably riveting - but that magic just didn't come through for me with this book. She jumps around in time sequence, one chapter is early in her captivity, the next chapter set in the present time. I imagine it was meant for dramatic effect, but I found it confusing and distracting. Her prose is a little awkward - it definitely read as if it was translated from another language.  What was clear though was that it was a brutal ordeal filled with physical pain, emotional anguish and unbelievable strength.
Ingrid has a remarkable ability to understand people and the complex webs of relationships that form within a tight knit group. She was able to understand and empathize with horrible behavior by others, without judgement and with a heartbreaking ability to forgive.
She utilized her captivity to embark on a journey of self-discovery that few people could ever manage. Her insights into her own mind and behavior are enlightening. Her resolve to find projects to keep busy and stay sane are a testament to her unbelievable fortitude.
What will stays with me as I return this book to the library is the sense of dignity that Ingrid maintained even through the most horrible ordeals. The word inspiring doesn't quite do it justice - but I will certainly be reminded of Ingrid the next time I dare to complain about a difficult day with my children.

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