Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

This is a memoir. It's the story of how Ishmael Beah grew up in Seirra Leone during civil war.
This book starts out with him as a young boy living with family in a village that so far has not been involved in the war. Then one day he goes to another village with friends and soon learns that his village was attacked. Luckily his older brother is with him, but he has no idea what has happened to the rest of his family. Then, the village he is in is attached. Together with some friends he is able to escape. This starts his life on the run. He basically goes from village to village trying to get to a safe one that is protected by the government army and hopes to reconnect with his family.
At one point he looses contact with his brother, at another point he is living alone in a forest. Soon he ends up in a village that so far is ok. There are a lot of government army stationed there. However, soon the fighting comes to this village. He is then forced to become a child soldier.
Then, after doing that for several years, he is picked to be rehabilitated. He is taken to the capital and put in a home with other boys. They all go through withdraw, due to the high amounts of drugs they were doing as soldiers. Then they go through a period of nightmares and just having to get used to being in a different environment.
We end the story with Ishmael living with his Uncle and his family and the soldiers taking over the city he lives in. He decides to try and escape to a neighboring country where he hopes to make it to America.
What oh what did I think of this book. I was so excited to finally read it. But I'm somewhat disappointed, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. I think I expected more of the story to be about when he was a soldier but a lot of it was before he was a soldier and he is roaming from village to village. I have also read articles about this book that I think changed my view of it. I'm not going to go into details with this one, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.
Overall, I do think it's a good book and I would recommend it to others. I just think I had high expectations and then some articles I read about the book kinda ruined it for me. I also just can't imagine having to go through and experience the things that he did. It's horrible! It's one of those books that you finish reading and think about how lucky you have been growing up that you having had to experience even half of what he has.
oh -this is also my bookclub pick for the month, so it's also possible that once we discuss it this coming weekend, my view will change. I usually end up liking the books more, once I have had a chance to discuss them with the group
non-fiction/new author/229 pgs


Joy said...

That's a bummer to not have your expectations met, but I'm glad you still *liked* it. I wasn't aware of boy soldiers (in this manner), so this was an eye-opener for me.

iamyuva said...

i read this book sometime back and wrote book reviewexactly how i felt... just lucky to be where iam. Beah's great journey and good insight to boy solider life...