It seems unbelievably curmudgeonly of me to judge this book harshly given its subject matter. But I can't let the deep empathy I feel for this former Sierra Leonean child soldier cloud my judgement of his memoir. I give him five stars - more!
It wasn''t until refugees started passing through our town that we began to see that it was actually taking place in our country.
Families who had walked hundreds of miles told how relatives had been killed and their houses burned. Some people felt sorry for them and offered them places to stay, but most of the refugees refused, because they said the war would eventually reach our town.
The children of these families wouldn''t look at us, and they jumped at the sound of chopping wood or as stones landed on the tin roofs flung by children hunting birds with slingshots.
The adults among these children from the war zones would be lost in their thoughts during conversations with the elders of my town.
Apart from their fatigue and malnourishment, it was evident they had seen something that plagued their minds, something that we would refuse to accept if they told us all of it.
At times I thought that some of the stories the passersby told were exaggerated. The only wars I knew of were those that I had read about in books or seen in movies such as Rambo: My imagination at ten years old didn''t have the capacity to grasp what had taken away the happiness of the refugees.
The first time that I was touched by war I was twelve. It was in January of I left home with Junior, my older brother, and our friend Talloi, both a year older than I, to go to the town of Mattru Jong, to participate in our friends'' talent show. Mohamed, my best friend, couldn''t come because he and his father were renovating their thatched-roof kitchen that day.
The four of us had started a rap and dance group when I was eight. We were first introduced to rap music during one of our visits to Mobimbi, a quarter where the foreigners who worked for the same American company as my father lived.
We often went to Mobimbi to swim in a pool and watch the huge color television and the white people who crowded the visitors'' recreational area.
One evening a music video that consisted of a bunch of young black fellows talking really fast came on the television. The four of us sat there mesmerized by the song, trying to understand what the black fellows were saying.
At the end of the video, some letters came up at the bottom of the screen.
They read "Sugarhill Gang, ''Rapper''s Delight. After that, we came to the quarters every other weekend to study that kind of music on television. We didn''t know what it was called then, but I was impressed with the fact that the black fellows knew how to speak English really fast, and to the beat.
Later on, when Junior went to secondary school, he befriended some boys who taught him more about foreign music and dance. During holidays, he brought me cassettes and taught my friends and me how to dance to what we came to know as hip-hop.
I loved the dance, and particularly enjoyed learning the lyrics, because they were poetic and it improved my vocabulary.
He stood by the door of our clay brick and tin roof house laughing and then asked, "Can you even understand what you are saying? He sat in a hammock under the shade of the mango, guava, and orange trees and tuned his radio to the BBC news. While Father listened to the news, Junior taught us how to move our feet to the beat.
We alternately moved our right and then our left feet to the front and back, and simultaneously did the same with our arms, shaking our upper bodies and heads.
Afterward, we would practice miming the rap songs we had memorized. Before we parted to carry out our various evening chores of fetching water and cleaning lamps, we would say "Peace, son" or "I''m out," phrases we had picked up from the rap lyrics.
Outside, the evening music of birds and crickets would commence. On the morning that we left for Mattru Jong, we loaded our backpacks with notebooks of lyrics we were working on and stuffed our pockets with cassettes of rap albums.
In those days we wore baggy jeans, and underneath them we had soccer shorts and sweatpants for dancing. Under our long-sleeved shirts we had sleeveless undershirts, T-shirts, and soccer jerseys. When it got too hot in the day, we took some of the clothes off and carried them on our shoulders.
They were fashionable, and we had no idea that this unusual way of dressing was going to benefit us. Since we intended to return the next day, we didn''t say goodbye or tell anyone where we were going.
We didn''t know that we were leaving home, never to return. To save money, we decided to walk the sixteen miles to Mattru Jong. It was a beautiful summer day, the sun wasn''t too hot, and the walk didn''t feel long either, as we chatted about all kinds of things, mocked and chased each other.
We carried slingshots that we used to stone birds and chase the monkeys that tried to cross the main dirt road.Ishmael Beah's memoir, A Long Way Gone, tells the story of a boy who's not so lucky.
The book records his real-life experiences as a year-old caught up in a . In A LONG WAY GONE: MEMOIRS OF A BOY SOLDIER, Ishmael Beah tells his experience as a child soldier from Sierra Leone.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier () is a memoir written by Ishmael Beah, an author from Sierra Leone. The book is a firsthand account of Beah's time as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone (s).
Author: Ishmael Beah. His book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier has been published in over thirty languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in Time magazine named the book as one of the top ten nonfiction books of , ranking it at number three.4/5().
A Long Way Gone Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for A Long Way Gone is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. Thematic Analysis of A Long Way Gone and Sold Wikipedia Entries for A Long Way Gone.