The situation—a hijacking—is dramatic, but this teenage diary is tedious.
Eighteen-year-old Kalli was leaving her home in Colombia for a summer stint on an Israeli kibbutz—and what should have been a fun, coming-of-age summer adventure turned into a grueling nightmare. Kalli’s flight was hijacked, and she was taken hostage by the National Liberation Army. She and her fellow hostages spent a year deep in the jungle, pawns in a complex political game. Here, Kalli recalls that. She writes of her mood swings, her dreams and her relationships with the other hostages. (Kalli’s father was also kidnapped, and he at times gives her strength—other times, of course, they quarrel.) She also chronicles her minor health problems—an ulcer, a staph infection, headaches, diarrhea. During captivity, she finds several forms of release, including prayer and drawing (her sketches are scattered throughout the book). The hostages are relatively well-treated—one of Kalli’s biggest complaints is that, because there’s nothing to do but smoke, bathe and eat, and play volleyball, chess and Battleship, she’s bored. Readers, plowing though her monotonous chronicle of those activities, will be bored, too. A prefatory essay, giving a bit more context about guerilla kidnappings in Colombia, would have been helpful.
The occasional art is more engaging than the diary itself.