A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 25, 2010
The cover of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier intrigued me because it has a picture of a young boy in tattered clothes, carrying a rocket-propelled grenade. It was strange to see a 12-year-old with a weapon. So, I began to read.

It starts out in a small village in Sierra Leone with a group of boys preparing to go to a talent show in another town. When they arrive, they find that their village has been attacked by rebel troops and they run for their lives, narrowly escaping death time after time.

Ishmael Beah, who was one of those boys, ends up joining the army where he is fed little and given drugs to relieve the stress of killing. Finally, he is sent with UNICEF troops to begin his intense rehabilitation.

Beah's memoir is very interesting, showing the truth about war and child soldiers. It portrays the terror and fear that are part of war. I would definitely recommend it although it is not for everyone. It is very graphic and puts you in a place some may find uncomfortable. The pure honesty is crippling and grabs your attention.

This book is very dark and leaves you wondering when the violence will end. It is sad to realize that Beah and many other child soldiers do not get to experience the fun of being a kid.

Although this was not a difficult book to read, it really sets your brain in motion and opens you up to a new world. Brilliantly written, this story will stay with me for life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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