Ishmael Beah takes the reader on a journey to the (relatively) far off lands of Ghana. There he exposes the reader to atrocities I had never even known occurred…
While Beah doesn’t write with beautiful prose, he portrays the true atrocities of war in a way that is easy for the reader to understand and relate to. This book seems as if it were written to educate readers to what happened in Ghana in the 1990’s as well as a way for Beah to release some of his pent-up memories and emotions. If that was what Beah was trying to accomplish, then he certainly succeeded. Not only did I learn a lot from this book, but young Ishmael and the hardships he faced every day touched me deeply.
Before I read this book I had been completely clueless as to what had gone on in Ghana in the 90’s. I assumed that Ghana had been, and still was, a relatively peaceful African country. Boy was I wrong. Starting, partly out of the blue, Ghana went through a civil war. Entire families were slaughtered while young boys went on the run for fear of being captured by the rebel “armies”. Ishmael fights for his life as he loses family and friends, left and right, before becoming a young boy soldier.
This book was not as good as some of the other books I have read about civil wars in African nations. That might be because someone didn’t write it with a background in journalism. Ishmael took part in the civil war and lived to tell the tale, and tell the tale he did.
Bottom Line: I would give this book 8/10 stars. While not beautifully written this story does a fantastic job of educating the ignorant reader, in an easy to read manner, of the atrocities that occurred in Ghana in the 1990’s.