Monday, July 30, 2012
Even Silence Has An End by Ingrid Bentancourt
Book: Even Silence Has An End/An aside on libraries.
Author: Ingrid Bentancourt
Recommended To: People who want to learn how not to escape guerrilla captivity.
Even Silence Has An End is the story of Ingrid Bentancourt, the presidential candidate in Columbia who was captured and held hostage for 6 years in the jungle. I first saw her interview with Oprah about the book and it has been on my to-read list ever since. I finally picked it up at the library this month.
An aside on libraries - I'm a Kindle fanatic (I buy the daily deal almost every day), or I buy my books used at the Brown Elephant Resale Shop. But, these places called libraries just give you books for free and all you need is a handy card that says you are allowed to check out books there. Who knew!?
I'm kidding, of course. I got a library card at the age of five and would intentionally pick out the longest books I could find in hopes of them lasting longer than two days. I blazed through the entire babysitter's club series, Anne of Green Gables, and Little House on the Prairie and then I read them again - over and over.
But, I've recently re-discovered the library and I've fallen in love again. The only sort of stressful thing is that it really bumps around the books in your to-read queue. These books have a due date so I couldn't just add them to my pile and pick them up again on a boring day. I had to relive my days as a kid and read these books fast! It has been great fun - I'd forgotten how lovely it is to hold a plastic bound book, turning real pages and seeing other people's fingerprints. It really makes you think about where a book has been and where it will end up.
Phew. Silence was a solid read. I took a class on the Columbian paramilitary, guerrilla and military forces in college and this book is probably now on that professor's reading list. Bentancourt describes her time chained to a tree, her long marches through the jungle and her attempts at escape. This woman sucks at escaping. She writes very long passages about the preparation she put into the escape plans and she ultimately fails five times. It is painful to see her go through these preparations over and over, only to know what is going to happen.
The most interesting parts are the bits about her relationships with her "companions." Many of them distrust her, but she does have a few close friends in captivity. After finishing this book, I looked up some of the controversy surrounding Bentancourt's version of the events. Many of the other captives have strong words of criticism for Bentancourt including her vice presidential running mate who was also captured with her.
Overall, this is a well written book with some very interesting passages and thoughts on the human experience in captivity. I would recommend this as an honest, upfront nonfiction read.