Wednesday 27 August 2008

Book Review: A Long Way Gone (Memoirs of a Boy Soldier)

A Long Way Gone It's taken me a long time to write a review on this book. It is not an easy book to write a review on. I'll start from the end result then and move backwards.

I think this is a very important book and I honestly believe everyone should read it. I finished it a couple of months ago and I imagine that barely a day has gone by without my thinking about it. Ishmael Beah and his horrific story are never far from my mind, but at at the same time I know that he escaped and now tours the world giving hope and guidance to others.

This book has been torn apart by reporters claiming the book to be inaccurate in terms of time frame and events. Other reviewers have criticised Beah's style of writing and emotional involvement in the story. I am not going to defend the author, I'm not going to say that it is okay if only most of the facts are correct and I'm not going to dwell on the fact that he is a human being and not a professional writer.

What I do take away from this book was that this young man was drafted into the war in Sierra Leone as a child soldier. I don't care if he was 13 or 15 when it happened and I don't care if he was a child soldier for two years or six months. The point is that he was pumped full of drugs by adults and he both witnessed the violent deaths of many young friends and personally killed several children and men.

The book left me with a desire to learn much more about Sierra Leone and I now know much more about the war in the region than I did initially. To me that means that the book fulfilled it's purpose. Read it

Please visit Ismael Beah's website


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