My new friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”
“You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”
“Yes, all the time.”
I smile a little.
“You should tell us about it sometime.”
This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
Release Date: 2007
Age Group: Adult
This was the first memoir I read on the topic of child soldiers. It was the first I read about the Civil War in Africa. I’ve heard of the genocide in Rwanda, I watched the movie too. It was terrifying! Reading A long way gone: memoirs of a boy soldier was such an intense memoir that I had ever read. I had a lot of trouble putting it down. I didn’t want to miss a thing. I took that book with me every where I went to make sure that my spare moments were spent reading. A Long Way Gone had the appeal of taking a glimpse into another persons suffering, reading about their hardships and using it as a motivator to try to change what you know, what you don’t make a change in the world.
A long way gone is a gripping, “not-what-you-expected-what-happens-next” book that will keep you interested as you go down memory lane with the author, Ishmael Beah, as he describes his childhood being taken by rebel soldiers and turned into a child soldier himself along with several other boys in the wilderness of Sierra Leone, Africa. Reading this book will heightened your sense of imagination as you read the words of murder, starvation, surrender, death, and pure honesty as the author retells his story and how he survived, recovered and took a given opportunity to help others that have suffered the same fate.
Read any good memoirs lately?