My Book Story: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Shannon A. Thompson
Picking one story that has affected my life is nearly impossible. Although I love the idea of sharing impactful stories, I found myself so riddled with options that I was afraid to pick one in fear that it wouldn’t be the “right” one to share. That being said, I could talk about this subject forever, but I knew I had to talk about one story, and I wanted to pick one story that I feel – personally – doesn’t get enough attention from various communities of readers despite the wide amount of attention it has received from nonfiction readers.
I found A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah in a Hastings in Lawrence, KS. I thought I was having a rough day, so I skipped class to disappear into the bookshelves of a store off-campus. I said “I thought I was having a rough day” because A Long Way Gone is a memoir about a child solider in Africa, and the issues explored in Ishmael’s story shattered any notion that my problems mattered at all. For instance, right when I was following the rhythm of the horrors scattered throughout this story, Ishmael would remind me of his age, by stating, “That was my fifteenth birthday”, and all of my “rhythm” was disrupted. All my worries were disrupted, and I was filled with so many emotions about Ishmael’s life and all the lives like his.
As a writer of YA fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, I often find myself reading all kinds of fiction and nonfiction, but memoirs often go untouched by the masses, and memoirs have so much to teach us about the world and about the people who affect this world. Ishmael Beah stayed with me because he went beyond this world with one of my favorite literary quotes to this day: “We must strive to be like the moon.”
But – perhaps – the most important quote that summed up my emotions for this striking and memorable life story was this: “…children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.”
Shannon A. Thompson is an author, poet, blogger, and coffee enthusiast. She is also an editor and social media marketer. Her Timely Death Trilogy will be released by Clean Teen Publishing this summer.