The Hostage's Daughter
These pages are a rare glimpse into the price paid by family members of journalists who dedicate their lives to working in conflict zones. Without these people, we'd never learn the truth about what happens in these parts of the world. In spite of what the current crop of tyrants say, journalists are essential to our well-being for they hold the lamp in their pens that shed the light on dark chapters of humanity.
Sulome Anderson is the daughter of journalist and former hostage Terry Anderson. She is a great journalist in her own right. In The Hostage's Daughter, she utilizes her skills to learn the truth about why her father was kidnapped in Lebanon, then held as a hostage for nearly a decade. The result is a work that details the maze of double-dealing, triple-crossing, political alliances that constrict the political Lebanese political landscape like a boa which doesn't quit want to choke its prey to death quite yet.
Yet, this journey to discover what occurred to her father, is really a catalyst for Sulome to come to grips with her own demons, of which she has many, for this is her true journey. Kudos to her for being open about her mental health issues, rampant drug addiction, sexual assault, and string of bad relationships. These actually dominate the first part of the book and you get a look at a young lady devastated internally and by outward events.
The last part of the book deals almost entirely with her efforts to land interviews with key players in her father's kidnapping. The people she talks to provide eye-opening information. In the end, she manages to speak with one her father's kidnappers.
I really don't wish to spoil the ending but will say that it involves forgiveness, the weight of conscious, and discovering that the what isn't often as important as how you deal with it. One of the shortcomings, and maybe that isn't the right phrase here, more like a blown opportunity, is how Sulome treats these issues in her book. I found myself wanting more from her on those subjects. She has a unique perspective that most people never see. Simple questions like, what is the price of wrong doing in your conscious? or what does it take to forgive someone who practically destroyed your life?. I wanted her to dive deeper on those issues at the end and also maybe even interview her dad for his take on what she discovered, though I do understand her reluctance to have the latter made public.
There is one big bonus in this book. Sulome cites a dozen other great books on the region that are must-reads. If you want to learn about Lebanon, she recommends a bunch of great source material. My only complaint is that I wish she had included a bibliography at the end because now I gotta go back and write those down. However, that's a good complaint for a writer to get.
If this book ever sees the big screen or streams on Netflix some day, it is going to be a great piece of film. The read was fascinating, sharing new insight into the region and the personal lives involved beyond the headlines. I give it a 4/5 on the rating scale and wish the author safe well-being in her further ventures as she continues to cover the region for various press outlets. By the way, if you are interested, you can follow her on Twitter: @sulomeanderson