I wanted to see my family, even if it meant dying with them”, these are the words of a boy troubled by war. Twelve year old Ishmael Beah is growing up in a time of war in the Sierra Leone. He has heard of the war from refugees who passed through his town, many told stories of their families being killed and their homes being burned. To Ishmael and the rest of the town it seems like the war is going on in a different land, little do they know the war will soon catch up to them.
One faithful day Ishmael leaves home to go to a talent show with his friends and his brother, he doesn’t know that he will never return home. While gone the town gets attacked by rebels. Ishmael and his friends don’t know if their families are dead or alive. Now Ishmael is faced with two great challenges, finding his family and staying alive. In the long journey to come he will experience death, and murder. In his journey Ishmael becomes a child soldier, he now has new goals, staying alive, and killing the enemy separated him from his family. In this book Ishmael tells his experience as a child soldier, the horrors he saw and the things he had to do in order to survive a bloody war. He also tells the difficulty it is to transition from being a soldier to trying to be a child again.
This book is a heart breaking eye opener that shows us the horrors that many children around the world are facing. It’s not only the story of a boy, but the story of all the lost childhoods and lives that war has taken, and it is the voice of all the souls that didn’t get to tell their stories of the war in the Sierra Leone. This story will open your eyes and let you see one of the greatest evils in our world, the arming of children the destruction of their childhoods, and the ending of their lives.