Read about life as a child soldier in A Long Way Gone

I hope that you had a great Christmas/holiday break and picked up a lot of new books to read! If you’re looking for some more ideas, check out my blog post A Sack of Christmas Books. And if you’re looking for a real treat, I have covertly released Recipes from Auntie Clem’s Bakery, a slim volume with a handful of gluten-free recipes that includes a few Christmas-appropriate desserts.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Read the rules and more teasers at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along.

I have recently finished reading A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah. It is a sad reality that around the world children are recruited to fight in wars or serve the soldiers who are fighting. Children as young as nine may be trained to kill.

A Long Way Gone is Beah’s autobiography. He was recruited to fight in Sierra Leone when he was 13, and was later rescued and repatriated and became a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

Honest, straightforward, and heartbreaking. It’s a tough read, but we need to be aware of what is going on in these countries and to support the UN, UNICEF, and others in their mission to help the children who have been brought into this life.

“I couldn’t bring myself to be completely happy. It was much easier to be sad than to go back and forth between emotions … I was never disappointed, since I always expected the worst to happen.”

Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone

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. 

Tell me what you think!

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