Listen to Ishmael Beah read from his book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier in this audiobook excerpt. This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
In 1993, at the age of 12 he fled attacking rebels who destroyed his village inSierra Leone. By 13 he had been picked up by the government army and been made achild soldier. His memoir, A Long Way Gone, tells his story.
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is, I think, the saddest novel I’ve ever read. Even if it was a piece of fiction and not a memoir of Ishmael Beah’s own life as a boy soldier during it would still be an incredibly moving and sad story. But I think the fact that it is Beah’s own account of his experiences of losing his family, being scared, homeless, starved, beat, and forced to kill people for his own survival makes it a really difficult book to read without crying. I remember not being able to put this book down, but at the same time feeling so horrified at the events and not only full of sorrow, but also full of anger. No one should have to experience things like this ever (well, that’s a given perspective unless you’re an absolutely hateful person) and the fact that Ishmael was one of the luckier ones is a horrible thing to think. There are so many awful things in this world, and sometimes that really makes me wish there was an alternate universe we good people could just apparate to (if the world was a magical place like in Harry Potter) where nothing bad like this ever happened. Very unlikely I know, but a girl can dream.
Crichton: So, Ishmael, it’s been a very hectic time for you since A Long Way Gone was published three years ago, but I gather you’re finally back writing again.
The book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah is about learning to overcome any kind of struggle or hardship you endure in life. Ishmael Beah lived in Sierra Leone during war times and witnessed just about every aspect of war and also lived both sides. During the war he lost his parents and his brother was killed in front of him. After everything and everyone he cared about was ripped from him he was convinced to become a soldier to fight off the people that robbed him of his life and gain some closer. UNICEF took him to a rehabilitation center to get him away from the war and drugs. He overcame the worst life anyone could live and made it to the point where he could give people knowledge about how terrible war really is by sharing his story with them. I really enjoyed the entire book but if I had to choose a part I didn’t like it would be how quick the book goes from crazy to calm. I really liked how it gives readers closer to Ishmael’s life and how he finally got real closer and gained something out of losing so much. This book is actually my favorite book and a great read. It shows that it’s possible to make it through anything in life and to learn from struggles and make them into a lesson to share with others. The book also explains that sometimes revenge is not the best idea.