Letter To The Author: A Long Way Gone

Dear Ishmael Beah,

I’m writing you concerning your book, A Long Way Gone. It was honestly too graphic, horrid and frankly, quite unbelievable that these events happened in such sequential order to this kid. First, I want to explain why I picked up this  book. It was not by choice . I was forced to read this as a 8th grade summer reading book. I couldn’t even get through the entire book in one sitting. I literally had to take a break from the book because it was too horrific.

I remember there was one scene that was so graphic that it almost brought me to tears. If I remember it correctly, the scene was about how you were in a contest to see who could slit the enemies’ throats the fastest. Really? Was this really needed? Also, there was a quote from the book that I thought was quite unneeded. To jog your memory, here’s the quote: “ ‘Every time people come at us with the intention of killing us, I close my eyes and wait for death. Even though I am still alive, I feel like each time I accept death, part of me dies. Very soon I will completely die and all that will be left is my empty body walking with you. It will be quieter than I am.” And if you don’t remember what you said on the next page, you said that he died the morning after he said this. This really made me wonder how the heck could you remember the quote, number one, and that he died the very next morning, number two. This really made me think about the reliability of your factual account. So upon further research, I found that you claimed to have a photographic memory.I think this is completely absurd. You remembered his entire sentence and you remember what day it was on. Come on, I wasn’t born yesterday.

I wish I never read about the  Blood Diamond War because it has  haunted me ever since. I feel like my childhood has been robbed because it’s hard to find fun in things, when I know atrocities happen to kids my age like this overseas.

The Bandit

As a winding road progresses
A Bandit must continue
Trotting down the old worn path
In hope for redemption
And the very last time I saw him
He said he must push forward
And that he learned his lesson

It started a few days ago,
Late in the evening
He was strolling out of a saloon
When he was confronted
By a group of brawny goons

So he readied both revolvers
And the others, they did too
The Bandit staring eye to eye
To what seemed to be the end
But the Bandit didn’t quit,
The Bandit put up a fight
And one by one the others
Proceeded to fall
And after the last one fell
He stared at their dead bodies
And realized that
The smallest one
Was his oldest son
He kneeled and cried
At the thought of his son gone

He stayed there for a while
To say a few prayers
Then the Bandit left the scene
Only to be discovered
By the sheriff of the county
The sheriff had put out a search for the Bandit
The Bandit knew he must go
So he mounted his horse’s back
And he readied to leave
And the very last words he said to me were
“I hope for redemption,
And I must push forward
You see, my little boy,
I have learned my lesson.”
The lesson that he taught me
Was that never to do things without thinking
Always resolve problems peacefully
To be kind to others
And you won’t end up like me.