A Long Way Gone
By Ishmael Beah
Week one reading blog
A Long Way Gone jumped right into the action, and grabbed my attention right away. It started off in the small town of Mogbwemo in Sierra Leone. Ishmael and his friends, Mohamed and Talloi, and his older brother, Junior, loved to practice and perform rap and hip-hop dancing. There was a talent show a few towns over in Mattru Jong that they decided to perform in. They left Mogbwemo and planned to return the following day. On there way to the talent show, they stopped in their grandmother’s town and visited her for dinner, then continued on and reached Mattru Jong that night. But when they finally reached Mattru Jong, the villagers heard that their home town of Mogbwemo was attacked by rebels. In hopes of finding their family, Junior, Mohamed, Talloi, and Ishmael went back home. Ishmael had clear memories of their family. His parents divorced when he was young. Ishmael’s dad paid for Junior and Ishmaels schooling, and in return they lived with him. His mom took care of their younger brother Ibrahim. When they reached their grandmothers town, it was a deserted village. Everyone was running the opposite direction, away from the rebels. Ishmael and Junior realized they couldn’t go back home without being captured by the rebels, and went back to Mattru Jong. Soon after they returned, troop arrived to protect the town, knowing that it was the next rebel target. Ishmael was scared of what was to come. He tried to think of the good time he had at home. He recalled his grandmother saying “be like the moon,” meaning that when the moon comes out, everyone is happy to see it. He has dreams of killings and dying painful deaths. All he wants is to be happy like he was. The rebels sent messengers to Mattru Jong, warning of their arrival. Everyone soon after went into hiding, and shortly the rebels came, just like they said. Shooting and killing civilians, everyone that could still walk raced to get out of the town, by the only exit, the river. Ishmael and his friends all made it out, but more pain was to come. Feelings of starvation and fatigue over whelmed them, so without a choice, they went back to Mattru Jong for food and money. Even though it was a dangerous trip, it was also successful by getting the food and money they needed. While walking on a path, three rebels captured them, along with fifteen others, and took them all to a nearby town. The rebels plan didn’t work how they wanted it to though. While interrogating and choosing strong fugitives to become rebels, the rebels were distracted with shooting close by. The fugitives used it to their advantage, escaping and running far away.
So far, I have loved the book. It captured my attention right away, and hasn’t bored me at all. It is so interesting to me how the rebels treated people and what kind of things they did to the community... and they thought that they were doing it for the better good of Sierra Leone. The rebels scarred many people for life, even if they didn't do it physicly, it was done mentally. From the title, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, I think that Ishmael will be captured by the rebels and become a soldier.