“ A long way gone ” by Ishmael Beah is an extraordinary memoir which gives a first hand report of the hardships and desolate situations faced by people and countries during war.Ishmael Beah is a graduate from Oberlin College and a member of the Human rights watch children’s rights division and advisory committee of U.S.A. He emerges as a gifted writer by reporting his life in a clear eyed and liberate fashion and will surely haunt the reader for some time.Among the different war stories which are published, this one stands out as a bestseller because of its simplicity and transparency as seen and experienced by the author. It is a first hand information and gives an idea to the reader of the problems faced by the civilians, the army and the rebels during any war like situation.
In this story, the author is a 12 year old boy living happily with his close knit family in a place called Mattru Jong. He and his gang of friends, enjoyed school like any one of us and played rap music as pastime. The only exposure to war for them was movies. Suddenly their lives are torn apart by a group of rebels who attack unannounced and the whole family is separated. Initially the author stays with his brother whom he later loses as they move from village to village in search of safety. The book vividly describes the impact on the young minds as they see families blown apart and the sufferings of those left behind.
It also gives a vivid description of the life of refugees who are ill treated and bribed by the nation’s own army. This book depicts the events in sequence how the cruel fate, forces them to join the army and the hardships and atrocities they are forced to commit and how it changes the impressionable young minds from home loving to destruction. This book not only gives the account of war but also the turmoils in the young minds as they try to re-acclimatize to the civilized way of life. Thankfully by the timely intervention of the UN, we find as we read that we will start to concur with the actions done by these young minds. the author finds some timely respite as he is reinstated with his uncle at Sierra Lane only to be heading to war. He tries to escape in order to not end up as a rebel or recruit. Reading this book makes us wonder how any one can come out of such horror with his humanity & sanity intact.
This book is also a testament of the ability of children to outlive their sufferings if given a chance. It really leaves an impression of a long way gone…by a determined impressionable mind………………………..
IX – C (Shift-I)