“Hostage Her dad is hostage one, her“Hostage Her dad is hostage one, her

“Hostage Three” by Nick Lake is the story about a dysfunctional family who go on a cruise and get hijacked. The story takes off with the first scene describing the grim fate the main character (Amy) and the rest of her family have met with. Somali pirates have taken over their yacht, have taken each of them hostage, and labeled them; Her dad is hostage one, her stepmother is hostage two, and she is hostage three. The story then flashes back three months earlier to describe what’s happening and why they’re there. Two years prior, Amy’s mother committed suicide and her father remarried. As you’d expect, something like that absolutely destroyed Amy’s original mentality . She became rebellious, attempting to expel herself from school multiple times, finally succeeding by lighting a cigarette in the middle of an exam, (she also abhors the stepmother). Her dad (who also added to the trauma for being absent most of the time) makes the decision to take them on a cruise for a bonding exercise only, as we all know, it turns south.While being held captive, Amy falls in love with one of her captors named Farouz. They both share a mutual talent for music. Throughout the book, it is revealed that the only reason Farouz became a pirate was to obtain the funds to free his brother from prison. “We want five million dollars” (Lake, 183), that was the ransom negotiated by the pirates in exchange for their freedom. Then comes the dilemma of one of the pirates demanding that one of the hostages go with them to the shore to make sure the transaction is legitimate. The stepmother decides to go, causing Amy to see her in a different light. The deal is completed, the money is loaded into a truck, and the stepmother returns safely. Things take a darker turn however, as Amy still has feelings for Faroux. This “chapter” (this book doesn’t officially call them chapters, there are just gaps in between each section) of the book ends with a helicopter gunning down the truck while the pirates are in it. The story picks up 3 months later, with Amy narrating in retrospect of what just happened. Only, it’s evident that she’s changed over these three months. She ends her piece with “If you’re broken, it’s possible to piece yourself back together”(Lake, 348). The story ends with Amy re-doing the test she messed up, being interviewed for a place at the Royal Academy of Music, and meeting Farouz’s brother. I believe the theme pretty much explains itself with the last “chapter” of the book. It’s possible to recover and learn from trauma. This is further supported by Amy’s changes on the island. She undergoes mental changes causing her to see the people she loathes in a different light, beginning to respect her stepmother and realizing that even her dad has some weaknesses and issues he has to face. She outright says “It’s possible to piece yourself back together” herself. Perhaps this book is a guide for those suffering from something traumatic, so that they may get back to their prior state of mind, or even perhaps become a greater version of themselves. The theme reminds me of an old quote by Khalil Gibran. “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” I believe this summarizes the theme perfectly.  I’d even say the book too. Amy was naive and destructive after the passing of her mother, and she didn’t understand the struggles her father went through while he was away. As the book progresses, and as Amy is brought out of her pain and the shell she formed, she begins to understand why everything is the way it is and why everyone is the way they are. She understands how to cope with these changes in her life in a less destructive manner.I absolutely love this book, mainly because it has to do with transformation. I finished it around a time where I was very critical of my actions, as the year was coming to a close and I believe in changing yourself when it does. I had become very irritable and vulgar around that time, which was a very far cry from all of the principles I had developed, as well as the ones instilled in me. Though it wasn’t because of something so traumatic, I do believe that I had the same reaction of rebelling and losing myself to an extent. Even if it was a fictional character, it was pretty comforting to see a similar experience. I can’t say that it 100% saved me, but like I said, it was a comfort.        I always like to give credit to the author’s ability despite my opinion of the book. Just because you may not like an artist’s style doesn’t mean the art itself isn’t good.The book itself was obviously intended for a more mature audience, as there are some f-bombs every now and then, however it doesn’t distract from how well written it is. The author perfectly describes everything, from the character’s nationality to where they end up in Somali. Every detail of what happens to the characters is written out to the point where you can visualize everything, especially when the truck is gunned down. Simply put, this is a good book. It makes everything easy to digest up until the final page. I’d give this book a 9/10. It was worth reading.