You’ve seen this book advertised in your neighborhood Starbuck’s – A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah.
My friend Mary Dusing passed it on to me – knowing that I’d be very unlikely to pick up a story about violence on my own. She was quite right – and I’m glad she made reading it sound imperative.
There are serious matter-of-fact descriptions of violence done by Ishmael in not very many pages in the middle of the book. Most of the book is about the story of how he became a boy soldier at age 13 and was pulled out of war at 16.
The chaos of life in Sierra Leone – which could happen anytime, anywhere on this planet – rendered his life unrecognizable. No family, no food, no school, no television, no hip-hop. Instead, a war where rebels and the army were indistinguishable and cruelty was the norm.
Ishmael now lives in New York City, with a family he adopted, and his redemption is on-going. May we listen and learn from his story – making future stories like his unnecessary.