I just finished reading A Long Way Gone. It’s a memoir about war in Sierra Leone written by Ishmael Beah. He was recruited as a soldier at the age of 13. Can you imagine? I can’t say it was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down, but what kept me reading was trying to understand what child soldiers go through. My American mind has a hard time wrapping itself around this reality that children in some African and Asian nations face or have faced.
When we went to Thailand in 2001, we visited soldiers about a day’s walk from the war between the Burmese and Karen people. We met 13 year old soldiers holding machine guns. Boys at this age shouldn’t be learning how to shoot a gun but rather how to play the newest video game, playing sports with their friends, and other 13 year old activities. I can’t even imagine the trauma these children must experience.
If you want to read a story that opens your eyes to the realities beyond the West, then I recommend this book.