Book Review: A LONG WAY GONE

a long way gone coverAuthor: Ishmael Beah

Number of Pages: 229

Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Release Date: February 13, 2007

“This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.”


I read this book with my English class, and at first I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never read this sort of book before, so I didn’t know whether or not I would like it. I had heard mixed reviews of it from my other classmates who had already read it, but if you are an avid reader you know that you cannot always go by what other people say about books.

I’m not going to lie: this book was extremely depressing at times. The things that Ishmael Beah went through as a child, the terrible, awful things that he was forced to do- it’s truly the stuff that nightmares are made of. It’s a miracle that he made it out of the country with his mind still sane and his body still functioning. If I was in his position I don’t think I would have been able to keep it together. But the worst part is that this sort of thing is still happening to thousands of children in many countries all over the world. It is heartbraking to think about, but at the same time I think that it is important to do so- it puts things in perspective.

However, I do not regret reading this book. It was actually quite good, and very well written. Once you get past the blood, gore, and violence, Ishmael’s story sucks you in and doesn’t let you go until you read the very last page. I was still thinking about it long after I finished reading it. Something about it just stuck with me. Overall, I actually really liked this book, and I encourage you to read it if you have not done so already. And if your English teacher forces you to read it, try not to moan and groan- give it a chance, because Ishmael Beah fought too hard for his story to not be heard.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes.




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