Reviewed by Rachel - The Class for TeensReadToo.com
Imagine, you live in a village; you know, the ones without electricity and plumbing? You get water from the river for your mother so she can cook dinner but, when you come back, the village is ablaze and everyone is running. Not just running in one direction but everywhere; screaming, yelling, falling down dead.
This is what causes Ishmael Beah's childhood to be lost.
Beah starts out as a quiet, peace-loving boy who suddenly is on the run from all the destruction and terror with his older brother, Junior, and some friends. After months of wandering on paths and in the forest, they come to a farm outside of a village. Beah finds out his family is in the village and as a group they start walking. Then the rebels attack and his family is dead.
Torn, tired, and angry, Beah will eventually lose everything he cared about; his family, his health (both mentally and physically), and almost his life. As a boy soldier recruited by the Sierra Leone Army he changes drastically. Drugs, energy stimulants, and other illegal acts (in the United States) cause him to kill without thinking, never even cringing at the sight of death and basically causing him to feel almost inhuman.
A LONG WAY GONE is Ishmael Beah's memoir based on his experiences and the tragic events of his life. I loved this book because it was a huge eye-opener about the war in Sierra Leone and how it affected everyone, even children. I also believe that everyone should read this book at least once in their life time. Maybe then people can help those who have become boy soldiers or anyone affected by a war. Maybe A LONG WAY GONE could change the world, make it a more peaceful place; that is what I hope can happen.
Currently 4/5 Stars.
Kristin M. reviewed A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier on
A compelling story that will increase your appreciation of the blessings in your life as well as your desire to help others.
An amazing story. The only thing I wondered about was the excellence of his writing. Must be a smart fellow or there is some ghost writer, except that he is able to speak in a clear manner and impresses those who listen to him.
This book sparked my attention at the bookstore, but it wasn't until my husband brought this book home that I began reading it. Some parts are so hard emotionally to get through because it is so uncomprehensible for us in today's society to imagine a child to go through what this child went through. I have a daughter the author's age and I could only compare what she would do if her life had been like his. Simply horrifying circumstances! However, again this book shows the strength of the human spirit when all hope is gone, life is threatened, and the existence of your world as you know it no longer exists. It is an atrocity that this happens in our world! However, Ishmael Baeh must be a very special young man who was "Blessed to be now a blessing to others". I am sure his experience will bring credit to his skills in working with others to stop boys from being used as soldiers.This is a great book!
Unfortunately for all of you, I will not be posting my signed copy any time soon. I actually got to meet Ishmael Beah at a local library event. In 20 years, he was the youngest person (at age 26) to speak in this particular Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series. He stood about 5'4" and he had a smile that infects you. How could this person be the same boy in the book?
The book was wonderful. It will make you wonder what you would do to survive.