A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone

Describe Beah's early life and how he became a soldier.

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Beah begins the memoir by describing how unreal rumors of the war seem to his ten-year-old world. His view of war, he states, had been colored by “those that I had read about in books or seen in movies such as Rambo: First Blood” (p. 5). Two years later, in January of 1993, the war hits home for him when Ishmael, his friend Talloi and brother Junior visit the village of Mattru Jong to see some old friends and practice their rap group performance for an upcoming talent show. The local friends arrive home early with the news that school has been cancelled since Mogbwemo, Beah’s home sixteen miles away, has been attacked by rebels. One Mattru Jong friend, Gibrilla, states that the teachers believe Mattru Jong itself will be the rebels’ next target. Despite this possibility, many refugees from Mobwembo flee to Mattru Jong; therefore, Beah and his friends go to the nearby wharf to await the incoming people and look for their families among the refugees. When no one they know arrives after several hours, the boys decide to head back to Mogbwemo to find their families. Ishmael is concerned about his Father, Mother and younger brother Ibrahim. (His parents are divorced).


The boys discover their village is destroyed and they are now homeless. The boys wanser the countryside and at the age of 13, he was forced to become a child soldier.