A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
Hardcover- $12.28

My new friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there ...

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  "Wonderful Book that makes you really reflect on life" by Wendy56 (see profile) 05/18/07

This book is a must read for everyone. It really makes you reflect on the peaceful life we have been blessed with here in the USA. The hardships and tragedies that this young boy endured are incredible. A real eye-opener to what is happening in other parts of the world.

  "After all the hype - a disapponting read" by im3snakes (see profile) 08/23/07

Our book club chose this book because we felt it was an important story and because every review claimed it was eloquent and moving. What a disappointment!
While I WANTED to like this book, the story-telling was puerile, and I never grew to care about the characters or what happened to them.
Though I still believe the topic of children at war is an important one, this is NOT the way to hear it.

  "I wanted to love this book" by Sailjane (see profile) 09/15/07

I was told this book would change my life, was told it was "a favorite book" by so many people, I wanted to love it. I did think it was moving in parts, but it left so much out. The ending was just empty, it was as if he just got tired of writing. I wanted to know more about the escape, how and what he is doing now, etc. I didn't get close to the characters to feel scared or sad. It is such a sad and scary storyline and the fact that it is fact not fiction--that is what is amazing, yet the book didn't make me feel like I knew the people.

  "The extreme hardships of children pulled into adult wars." by Christine57 (see profile) 09/29/07

This book was my selection for the book club I'm in, and it did not disappoint us. This is account Ishmael Beah's life before, during, and after his involvement in the civil war in Sierra Leone. I know some will have to find where Sierra leone is on a map, but the problem of children being used as soldiers in war is a reality.

Ishmael Beah lived with his family, and was a "normal" pre-teen boy. That is, until the day his village was attacked by rebels. His discription of his search for his family, is heart breaking. The atrocities Ishmael saw and committed as a boy soldier make me wonder how this boy, and now young man, survived physiclly and mentally.

I had the opportunity to hear Ishamel speak at a local college. I now understand how he did live, and become the man he is today. Is was not only with the help of others, but by his spirit, and determination to live his life.

  "Compelling" by shortstallings (see profile) 05/02/08

This book offered compelling conversation about world politics (in most cases, how little we know) and the effects war has on the people of a country.

  "Highly recommend" by cjb (see profile) 06/06/08

It was interesting. My word of warning is it is beyond depressing as the story is about a horrid account of this boy seeing and participating in an atrocity. However, I am very glad it was chosen as our selection.

  "Heartbreaking and eye opening - difficult to imagine this took place during my lifetime!" by jenniferharding (see profile) 04/25/09

This book is everything that you expect it to be. An honest and horrifying account of the experiences of war. Even more disturbing is that it is a thirteen year old boy enduring these tragedies and both witnessing and inflicting these horrors. Having been born only a year earlier than the author of this book, I was struck by the fact that all of these events took place during my lifetime. When a specific date was mentioned, I would automatically flashback to what I was doing at that time and how very drastically different my life was. And at the same time, how grateful I am to have lived my life rather than the author's.

The only thing I did not like about this book is that it ended very abruptly. It seems that the author had an opportunity to write an ending full of hope for the future. Instead the reader does not even get to hear the entire story about his escape to the US. I would have liked to have read more about what happened when he got to the US.

In reading some of the other reviews, I'm confused as to how someone can pick up a book with the title "Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" and then be surprised that much of the book is gruesome and depressing. This is a heavy subject. The book is full of heartbreak, evil, drugs, blood, killing, and pain. If you cannot handle the subject matter, move on to a Harlequinn Romance Novel. This is a very important book and would make a great read for a book club.

  "Difficult to read, but glad I read it" by shelbymomof2 (see profile) 07/22/09

This book takes you out of your comfort zone! There were times I wanted to either quit reading or skip ahead a few chapters. Reading about boys being trained to kill, and being killed in the process, was extremely difficult. I did not "enjoy" reading this book. But I'm glad I read it, just for the awareness factor.

  "what he lived through is terrible and amazing at the same time" by katrinabrady (see profile) 08/10/10

  "Long Way Gone" by juliemyszko (see profile) 09/19/13

  "A Long Way Gone" by peggyjackson3 (see profile) 07/22/14

I loved this book. That Ismael could live through what he experienced and become the wise, sensitive, loving person he is today is inspiring.

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