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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Judith Tebbutt - A LONG WALK HOME

Reviewed live on bookshow on 27th March 2014 by Corinna Christopher this was her review:

This is a most remarkable book and compels one to keep reading until the end.

In 2011 Judith Tebbutt was kidnapped by the Somali Pirates and held hostage for 192 days.  Whilst most of  us will remember this story in the press, this book reveals in the most memorable way what an ordeal it was for this very courageous  woman.

Judith and her husband David were on holiday in East Africa first of all at an enjoyable safari park and then at a first class beach resort Kiwayu .  On arrival they were a bit surprised to find themselves the only guests but were welcomed warmly by the manager who told them more guests would be coming the next day.

There room was a  luxurious Banda set in a  remote part of the attractive grounds.  Sometime during their first night armed men entered their room and after a scuffle Judith was dragged off into a boat leaving David behind .

What followed after being carted around the countryside for a few days was imprisonment in various appalling conditions guarded by a collection of ruffians who gave her little to eat and were generally unfriendly.  Judith was in her late fifties with a hearing problem (no time to collect her aid) and badly missing her husband . Her professional training in psychiatry enabled her to mentally cope with the deprivations .  She invented games for herself and maintained an exercise programme in her cramped room.  She tried to become friends  with the pirates and understand their mindset even attempting to learn their language.

From time to time she met up with a man known as the negotiator who most of the time was of no comfort.  At one stage she was allowed a phone call from her son Ollie and much to her distress heard that David had been shot dead in their hotel room .  After this Judith found herself in a low mental state but summoning all of her willpower was able to believe that Ollie would eventually arrange her release.

Following a lot of failed promises from her captors she was eventually rescued and united with Ollie in Nairobi, by this time she was like a skeleton weighing  only 5 stone and her health was in a bad way.

Back in the U.K..she was given help by various government bodies and professional  de-briefings.  Her family rallied around but Judith was finding it very difficult to recover her identity and live a normal life.  She did however manage this and in her own words says “Life is all that we have and all we ever can have, and it must be cherished, respected and never taken for granted”.

This book was both harrowing and sad but  also inspirational .  The reader can  feel great  admiration for this brave lady

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