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.
Author Beah was only twelve when the war caught up with him. He escaped with his older brother and a group of teenage friends. Then they came across the rebels and were torn apart. He wandered alone in the forest for a while then once more teamed up with more homeless errand boys. This is a true story, very gripping and poignant. You feel the desperation of these boys, always on the run, walking endlessly nights and days, with often nothing to eat, stomach tight with fear. They lived the most appaling war, using young boys as soldiers and drugging them so that they become killing machines and have no feelings for their victims. Sickening but highly recommanded to understand what the real war is.
Highly interesting. It's less focused than I thought on Beah's soldier time itself, and there's a big part before his enrollment and after his rescue by Unicef. Made the book all the more interesting to me. Beah has a genuine gift for writing, and he mixes personal feelings and global reflection very well.