A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

November 8, 2011
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider” is a non-fiction piece that gives a new perception of a different type of lifestyle. Ishmael Beah is a young boy when he is caught in the middle of a war. He has to face many challenges on his way to freedom.
Hunger and physical pain are just speed bumps in his tough life. Many characters are mentioned but it’s easy to keep up with Ishmael, being the only main character. His memories take place in Sirte, Libya, located in Africa. Ishmael travels to many cities and tiny villages. The time placement is recent. It’s baffling to think that these events took place as little as a few years ago.
“A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” was critically acclaimed as a #1 national best seller, and has been receiving positive attention. It is separated into fairly short chapters. When Ishmael is reciting his story, he sometimes flips from the story to his childhood, which benefits the reader in understanding this boy better. There isn’t a lot of dialogue in the nonfiction book, but in my opinion, it isn’t needed. Ishmael keeps his paragraphs interesting. The events he faces are suspenseful and his emotions show. He uses great detail, and you feel like you’re right by his side, especially in the gruesome memories.
With the war between the Rebels and the Libyan government, Ishmael was biased towards the government. He explains the government’s decisions are clouded by revenge. This book was tough to read at times because of my ignorance of terrible actions being inflicted. This piece is very descriptive, and somewhat traumatic. If you don’t like graphic events, this memoir wouldn’t be well suited for you. Most people aren’t well educated about the war between Libya’s government and the “Rebels”. Ishmael’s book would be greatly important to this audience.
There are many different types of cultural traditions in Africa, which I was unaware of before. This piece of writing gave me a better understanding of what other countries are like, and the difficult challenges that I luckily, don’t have to face. After reading this book, I’m trying to not take things in my life for granted. We sometimes forget to appreciate the little things such as food, water, and even just the presence of others.





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