A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah | Teen Ink

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah MAG

By Emily Homlish, Wyckoff, NJ

Courage, strength, fear, and survival are themes prevalent in Ishmael Beah’s memoir, A Long Way Gone. This is a heart-wrenching tale of one boy’s struggle during the Sierra Leone civil war that broke out in the early 1990s. Beah describes his experiences with exceptional detail and imagery, even if the images aren’t as pleasant as one would hope.

Beah takes the reader through his personal journey, from the age of 12 when he lived in a small village with his family, to the age of 16 when he was able to escape from Sierra Leone to neighboring Guinea.

Throughout the memoir, Beah connects with the reader while recounting his experiences as a boy soldier – witnessing villages being burned with the inhabitants locked in their homes, hiding alone in a forest for a month to avoid being killed by the Revolutionary United Front, or the first time he killed another in order to fulfill the title of boy soldier.

Not only is A Long Way Gone a heart-wrenching tale of survival, but it’s also very well-written. Beah allows the reader to feel pain and hope for peace, just as he did. His intricate details bring imagery and emotion to his writing, no matter how painful these memories were to recount.

Beah’s story needs to be told. He created a memoir that will remain forever in the hearts of those who read it.

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This article has 3 comments.

Quany'Gee said...
on May. 18 2010 at 9:54 am
What do you think are some main themes of the book.?

Maria said...
on Jan. 13 2010 at 9:03 pm
i read this book. it's true when it says that the author allows the reader to feel pain and hope for peace. i cried and was very touched by this book.

Cleo12 said...
on Feb. 11 2009 at 10:11 pm
Wow, this is really good. i totally want to read this book now!

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