Published Date: February 13, 2007
Publishing Co.: Farrar Straus Giroux
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
If you have a child in your life who just thinks that they have just the worst life, please have them read this book. Hell, if you know an adult who thinks that they’ve had it the worst, maybe throw this at them too. This isn’t to negate other people’s suffering but sometimes you just need a little perspective thrown at you to make you appreciate your life.
There are a decent amount of war stories recounted by people who lived through them. But, it’s not every day that you read about a child’s perspective of war, especially a child who was also a soldier in the war. It’s an almost unimaginable concept to consider, but consider it we must as it happens in every war.
When you think about how they did anything, literally anything, to survive, your mind most likely goes to things like, smuggling weapons and starving. It’s so much more than that. It’s being fed drugs to keep you fierce, it’s fueling the pain of losing your family with hate for your enemy, it’s shooting people at point blank range and slitting throats. It’s fucking brutal. It’s children being forced to be brutal in order to hopefully live one more day. It’s heartbreaking and I don’t even like kids that much.
It’s important to show the grim reality of war. It should not be taken lightly. Ever.
Ishmael’s struggle through the Sierra Leone civil war is gripping. So much so, that I was miffed about the abrupt ending. Yes, I can assume what must have happened next to young Ishmael but I want to hear it from him. I want to know how his life changed once he escaped the war for good.