An Active Handprint Book Review
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
It's haunting. It's disturbing. It's necessary.
Juxtaposed against the backdrop of childhood innocence, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a harrowing tale of a twelve year old boy as he fights daily to survive in a tumultuous Sierra Leone. This haunting coming-of-age novel highlights the instinct to survive and the psychological tortures that come with it.
Ishmael's heart-wrenching tale questions the very root of human nature yet explains the light within each of us. A light that even when extinguished by the heaviest downpour glows red, waiting to be reignited by a single spark of hope.
A Long Way Gone drags readers though the decline into violence: explaining how boys as young as seven were molded into soldiers, justifying hauntingly gruesome scenes, and portraying murder, near-death experiences, heartbreak and rehabilitation.
The writing is raw. The descriptions are as honest and objective as possible. The memories are painful. Yet the language retains a lyrically whimsical, tribal quality that floats readers through even the most sickening moments.
If you have ever felt that you have done something that is unforgivable, this is the book for you.
If you have ever thought that you are beyond help, this is the book for you.
If you believe in the redemptive nature of humanity, if you believe that innocence needs to be protected, if you believe that there is always hope, this is the book for you.
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Review by Brittany Slusarczyk