Today’s book is doing triple duty. It’s serving as my celebrating black authors book, Book Beginnings and The Friday 56.
Summary from Book:
At the age of twelve, Ishmael Beah fled attacking rebels in Sierra Leone 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. AT sixteen, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, her learned how to forgive himself, to regain his humanity, and finally, to heal.
There were all kinds of stories told about the war that made it sound as if it was happening in a faraway and different land. 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.
Why in the world would I want to read a book about a child soldier?
I had heard of the plight of child soldiers and how they were tortured by their captors. War is not pretty and many countries use children as soldiers. I’ve often wondered why. Could it be cause they quick and agile and can get away or is because these corrupt governments feel that children are expendable? or it could be any number of reasons.
In a nut shell I wanted to read it to find out how he survived.
The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice
“Everyone ran when they heard of the ‘seven boys’ on their way here. I couldn’t run at all. So they left me behind. No one was willing to carry me and I didn’t want to be a burden,” he said.
. . . “My children, this country has lost its good heart.”
. . . He looked at all our faces and spoke softly, with no sadness in his voice.
“I will not be alive to see the end of this war. So, to save a place your memories for other things. . . If you survive this war, just remember me as the old man you met. You boys should be on your way.” Before the village disappeared from our sight, I turned around to take one last look at the old man. His head was down and he had both hands on his staff. It was clear to me that he knew his days would soon be over, and he didn’t bother to be afraid for himself. But he was for us.
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier pages 55 & 56