A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
rating: 4 of 5 stars
i gave this book an extra star because this story is so important in this day and age, when war for Americans has become a video-game-like-unreality divorced from our everyday lives and while so many people (including more and more children) are the victims or perpetrators of atrocious acts of violence. While the writing itself wasn't brilliant, it was very readable and the voice of the author, Ishamel Beah, was clear and resonant throughout. I liked the fact that several of the war stories that he tells are presented as flashbacks during the time of his rehabilitation, effectively mimicking how the author's violent past came back to haunt him even when he was no longer in the army. I also liked how the author didn't get into the politics/ideological arguments between the different factions fighting the war. In the end, that stuff didn't really seem to matter as both sides were 'recruiting' boy soldiers into their ranks. The author did an excellent job--like Elie Wiesel did in 'Night'--of illustrating the absurd futility and waste of war, as well as the healing that can come to those who were affected by it afterwards.
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