a long way gone book
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Beah, here 18, introduces his memoir with a brief exchange of dialogue with his high school friends, who don't fully grasp the weight of his experiences in Sierra Leone. His friends respond "cool" when he confirms that he had witnessed combat. Beah smiles a little but won't tell them anything more about his childhood.
The second part of your question relates to how Ishmael's friends would feel after reading his memoir. I'd have to say that having read the book, I don't know how anyone could help but be affected by his experiences. I've known many young men who have glorified war, guns, and combat. Much of this has come from increasing and ever more graphic play of war games, movies, and television. War is not a game, deaths are not tallied by counters in the corners of a screen, and graphic depictions will never completely portray the realities of war. If his friends have read the book, I'm sure what they once found "cool" has into a feeling of awe.