Tuesday, October 07, 2008
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
This true story about the horrors of war was not written for teenagers, but it's a story that mature teens could understand and learn from. Ishmael, a 12-year-old boy from Sierra Leone was caught up in a horrible civil war in the 1990s. With his village destroyed and his family missing he tried to escape on foot with some other boys. Average citizens feared groups of boys because they thought they were part of the rebel army. Members of the actual rebel army looked for young boys to force them into serving as soldiers. With no where to go and everyone after him, Ishmael makes it to a village and finds out that his family is alive and nearby. Unfortunately, they are brutally murdered by rebels just before Ishmael arrives in their village. From that point, Ishmael joins the Army and becomes a brutal killer himself. He spends a few years this way before a United Nations group "rescues" him and gets him back on a better track. It's a gripping and heartbreaking story that people should know about so that maybe it will never happen again.