I just finished A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah. War memoirs are not my cup of tea, but since my book group chose it.. I felt obligated to give it a shot. The first half of the book is very readable, given its grim subject matter.
The story is about a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. After losing his family in a bloody civil war.. Ishmael is recruited as a soldier to fight the opposition. His daily existence consists of violence and drugs and the distant hope that the war will end. I was moved by this part of his life. So young, yet forced to endure such hard conditions. Hard to imagine really.
The second half of the book felt “tacked on”. Ishmael is chosen to be rehabilitated and moved to a home. There he undergoes detox and daily visits with various medical professionals. I was very happy to see an end to the violence, at least in his case.. but the shift was so abrupt that I found it hard to follow. I felt that he had more to say, but chose not to say it.
Not one of my faves as far as memoirs go. We’ll see what kind of discussion it generates this Thursday.