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7 June 2011 / getrus

A Long Way Gone — Ishmael Beah

Normally I don’t read anything which has come out in the last couple of years.  I stick to the classics and the odd book which looks interesting.  And, I normally do not read memoirs (they seem to be biased, just my opinion,).  I did, however read  A Long Way Gone:  Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.  It was extremely good and I could not put it down.

Ishmael Beah was a child when the civil war in Sierra Leone started and I was even younger (considering I do not remembering hearing anything about it.) His village was destroyed and him and his brother managed to escape not knowing what happened to the rest of their family.  Joining up with some other young boys (ages 13 to 16)  along the way they managed to make it to other towns only to be treated horribly only because they were the same ages and the rebels who were destroying all of the villages and killing everyone.

Not wanting to go into detail, I’ll skip farther ahead.  Eventually, he and some other boys who had been soldiers in the army were taken by UNICEF to be rehabilitated.  It took time.  A LOT of time.  He made it through and went to live with his uncle’s family.  Later, he was asked to go to New York and speak at a conference where he met Laura, who was a chaperon.  After the conference he went back to Sierra Leone where soon the fighting began to enter into the city he was in.  He made his way to the neighboring country of Guinea.  From here he made it to the United States and met again with Laura.

I left so much out. I honestly loved this book.  Beah managed to write a story, however unbelievable, was true.  Somehow, the way he writes makes you feel as if you are going through this entire ordeal with him.

Amazing.

***** (five stars)

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