Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: BURIED ALIVE by Roy Hallums

It's time for a book review and I know I usually do these on Sundays but yesterday wasn't such a terrific day so I'll post it this morning so it's up and crossed off my list. BUT, please come back later this evening (between 8-9 pm, central time) to check out my MAY-JAH giveaway.
This book was one that I picked to review through Book Sneeze and honestly- it's been sitting on my desk for awhile. I was hesitant to actually read it because if you remember correctly, I don't like the kidnapped thing because hello- it's probably the biggest fear of mine.
So this weekend I settled in to start this and I could NOT put it down. It's a true story of an American who, while working in Iraq as a contractor, was kidnapped and tortured by Iraqi insurgents and held for over 300 days. 300 days, people. Imagine being blindfolded, rationing out small portions of mostly rotted food for a every three day span (if you were lucky), being beaten, having to make videos to plea for your life, and little to no communication with other hostages for over 300 days. If that isn't a description of hell I don't know what would be.
What I really enjoyed about this book (well there were several) was that through the whole thing, Roy had a sense of humor. His extensive military training (he was retired from the military but knew if his captors knew that he'd be dead) probably helped him quite a bit. He seemed level headed enough to be able to take mental notes of everything, to keep track of time by paying attention to the Islamic prayers he heard, and was smart enough to figure out what he should/shouldn't do to make it out of there alive.
I will confess right here and now that I don't pay attention to the news coverage. I know this may seem idealic and naive, but to me, I know it's something I can't fix. Me watching the constant barrage of news coverage is not going to make a difference. And because I don't watch it- I really have no clue about the war, why there is a war, why people are kidnapped, etc. This book really enlightened me. Am I going to watch the news now? Probably not. Am I going to click on a news link about hostages? Yes. I most likely will. Because I can't even imagine what that is like.
What also surprised me was how really unintelligent these people are (meaning the kidnappers and radical groups). I mean one could argue that they have some intelligence if they are kidnapping people in the hopes for ransom payouts in order to fund their insurgency. Sure. I'd give you that. Two points crazy people. BUT, the book really highlighted that despite what you see/read on the news, they are highly unorganized. They couldn't find their ass from their elbow. And despite all of this- it leaves me baffled that the United States, supposedly this really smart (debatable) and powerful country can't beat them. What gives?!
The other thing that I know is probably more true than we'd like is how uncooperative the US Government was to Roy Hallums' family. Really, FBI? You can't just give them an update? You can't just say, "We have no fucking clue where he is. Sorry" ?? I'm probably going to get red flagged but I'm sorry. I just think there needs to be a little more bedside manner instead of all of the red tape.
It was a good book. I really enjoyed it and I recommend anyone to read it. I think the most heartbreaking line in the whole book was Roy describing that since the war began, 50 American contractors have been kidnapped. He was the only one rescued.
SO--- anyone who wants this book, please leave me a comment with your email address and I will put your name into a drawing. Winners announced this Friday, March 5. :)


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful book. I am really impessed that you can read so many books, take care of two kids, keep a spotless house, work a job, and do all of your other domestic duties and still have time to keep up with us lamb whores. You are my hero Sara.....and I am not just saying that to get the book and win the drawing. PS: Put my name in that drawing, by the way!


Sam said...

I agree with what Amber said...and add to that list, keeping up correspondence with me that will be starting up again soon!!! :) Plus I need your address, somebody's birthday is coming up!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Hmm, I've been looking for a non chick lit book to read because I've noticed I've been getting into that spiral. Maybe I'll have to check this out, it sounds interesting!

Jen said...

I read this book too and I was totally amazed that Roy came out alive and sane. I would have lost it...and begged for them to just put me to death!

Sadako said...

Cool book--sounds like something I'd like to check out for myself. It definitely looks a bit dark, but worth it.

Danielle said...

Wow props to you Sara for reading this! I don't think I could do it! I'm with you on the news issues, I really don't keep up with them as I should ... as far as the political stuff and the war ... I mean sure I know what celebrities for the most part are doing but I don't know anything about the war - sick isn't it?! I also agree with the first comment above that you are SUPERWOMAN! :) xoxo

____j said...

I totally commend you for reading this. It sounds interesting, I just don't think I could do it. Since my husband joined the Army, I can't stand to read/see/hear anything dealing with Iraq/Afghanistan.

Sara Strand said...

@Amber & Sam- My cape is on backorder. It'll get here soon. :)

@Krysten- I'm on a memoir kick. Have you read any Chelsea Handler?? You would LOVE her. HAHA!!

@Jennee- I had to not read your review until I finished it for myself. SUCH a good book.

@Sadako- Yes, it could be viewed as dark but it's pretty uplifting too. Just the courage and really- the ability to find the strength to continue is amazing.

@Danielle- This is a good book to get a crash course and explain it in really simple terms what is going on. Fast read.

@____j- wow, that's something. I guess if I were in that situation I'd be hesitant too. (hugs) But I have a lot of friends who are over there or going over there soon so this was good to put it all into perspective for me. Like I finally get what the mission/purpose is. Which is sad that I get that from a book than news coverage. :)

Pinay in Dutchland said...

Hahaha your comments about the kidnappers made me laugh. Probably they are not that stupid but the author made them so the protagonist will sign.
But kidnappings also creeps me out, coming from a country where some groups do that for a living. It can really be scary especially if you are a foreigner or rich.

By the way, thanks to your blog, I found my way to BookSneeze. Though I havent gotten any book yet. I dont like reading Christian books. Till your next book review

Gini said...