Finished August 31
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Long on my TBR list, I picked this up recently when visiting my parents and read it. It is the memoir of Ishmael Beah from childhood through his teens in Sierra Leone. He was visiting a nearby village with friends and his older brother Junior to do some dancing, passing through a third village that his grandmother lived in, when the war came to him.
As the boys tried to stay away from the rebels, they also worried about their families and wanted to find them. They returned to their home village of Mattru Jong, only to find it empty. With the army's soldiers undermanned, they provided little help in many situations the boys found themselves in. Wandering for years, trying to stay alive, the boys were separated and Ishmael found himself with new groups of boys his age.
Eventually conscripted by an army officer when the village they were in was attacked, Ishmael became a soldier, fighting to stay alive and keep the rest of the villagers safe. When he was eventually taken to the capital to begin the task of resuming his life, he found it very difficult to adjust. This is his story, but also the story of so many others. It is not a book that is easy to read, but it is important to know about lives like this as we understand the world around us.