Book Review: A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier

I read this book for my English class. I was asked to choose a biography and my teacher recommended this book. I’m glad that he did.

Ishmael Beah, the writer, was born in Sierra Leone. He lost his family and his childhood to the war, and this book heartbreakingly describes all that happened to him during the war time. I really enjoyed reading this book, not because it was a pleasant read, but because it was gripping, it was honest, and it was a look into an entirely different way of life. It spoke of a country in desparation, and it showed the horrors of war.

For anyone who writes about war, I really suggest reading this book. It shows all the pain of war, of killing, of losing family and friends.. in perhaps gruesome detail, but to take out those parts of it would be to lie. It would make war look like something it’s not. And the bravery that is shown in the writer’s honesty is astounding.

For me this book was not only an interesting if sad story, it gave me ideas. It made me want to do research on Sierra Leone. It made me want to research this person. It made me realize just how bad things really are in some places. And it showed me a different kind of war, one that I had never considered for use in my work.

I’ll admit that while I’ve struggled with borderline poverty, bullying, and the deaths of several family members, in a lot of ways I have been sheltered. I have never starved, I have never killed someone, I have never seen a person get murdered, I have always had water and education. And while I knew that in other countries, especially in Africa, many children have none of these things guaranteed. Children starve, children have no access to clean water, no access to education-especially girls, this book really brought that idea home for me.

At times he is not the best writer, and at times the scenes are utterly terrible to imagine-and you see them very clearly in your head-but this book is really worth it. It has a message to tell and it really shows why war is such a terrible thing.

I really suggest you read this book. You can buy it here (clicky).


About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on January 5, 2011, in Book Reviews, Reading Related. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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