A Long Way Gone:Memories of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah | TeenInk

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

March 5, 2010
By Unpredictable51 BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
Unpredictable51 BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
2 articles 6 photos 0 comments

When my sophomore teacher announced we would be reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier I wasn’t too excited. I thought it wouldn’t be of my picky interest. Right away when I received the novel I turned to the back cover to discover what the book was about. Surprisingly, I knew I would get hooked on it. That was because A Long Way Gone is a memoir of Ishmael Beah, a child soldier. I have fallen in love with helping those in need. Once I found out this would be similar I dived right in.

A Long Way Gone starts off with a conversation between Ishmael and his high school friends. The conversation helps set up the book and gives it meaning. The conversation gives completely different perspectives about the war in Sierra Leone too. His classmates think it is totally cool that people are running around with guns shooting each other. Only, children are the shooters too.

Through-out the book Ishmael goes from rapping, to hiding, to fighting, to escaping. Every moment is different. At first he is walking to a talent show with his friends and older brother, Junior. They don’t think the war would reach their village in Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, they end up hiding from the war, and struggling to survive, becoming malnourished and depressed. Later on, Ishmael finds himself joining the army. This leads to the dependence of drugs and the need for killing rebels in order to live.
Incorporated in A Long Way Gone are several stories from Ishmael’s village. They play a very important key role in the book. This is because they are parables that come from his childhood, and come to him when he is in a similar situation. Ishmael also remembers memories from his youth. One is about his Grandfather teaching him and his brothers about plants used as medicines. This memory helped him greatly when he needed soap. Ishmael finds a type of grass his Grandfather told him he could use as soap, and utilizes it to make him smell of the jungle.
If you think this book would interest you waste no time and go but it! (Or at least check at out.) The issue of child soldiers needs to be known of, and what better then a memoir to support the cause. There are issues like this not only in Sierra Leone, but all over the world. In my opinion humans are all equal, and we need to help one another in times like this. I know other countries have problems of their own, but if all humans joined together peacefully, we could get things done quickly and efficiently. It is time to stop living in the past, and become one.

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