A Long Way Gone
With my time at OCCC and the Pioneer coming to a close, I figured it would be a time to do a serious review, about something that is really meaningful to me. I’m reviewing a book. I don’t read books often so that is a sign that this review is special.
The book I’m reviewing is titled “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” and is written by Ishmael Beah.
I first read this book before high school, back in the summer of 2009. It was on a list of books to choose from for a required summer reading assignment for my freshman geography class. The list contained famous books, such as Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner,” but I chose “A Long Way Gone” because I was not familiar with it at all.
I recently picked up the book again and remembered how much I loved it.
“A Long Way Gone” is a memoir of Beah’s life growing up in Sierra Leone and his involvement in the Civil War in that country during the 1990s.
Beah details his time at the age of 11, running away from his village with friends, as it is attacked by the Revolutionary United Front. He travels to many villages all of which, in turn, are attacked. He eventually arrives at a “safe village” where his family is located, before it too is attacked.
Assuming his family is dead, Beah is forced to enlist in the Sierra Leone Armed Forces.
There he executes prisoners of war, and is forced to take drugs, until eventually he is rescued by UNICEF.
He tells of his rehabilitation into normal society, speaking on behalf of child soldiers in front of the United Nations, and eventually having to flee into the U.S.
This book gives a close look at life during a terrible period in Sierra Leone, as well as the horrors of children soldiers.
“A Long Way Gone” is as impactful to me now as the day I first started reading it more than six years ago. It is a must-read.