A Long Way Gone Final Entry

Before I tell you about the lessons, and how much I connected to the book, I just want to say this was one of the best books I have ever read! It was not only moving, but very sentimental and emotional. This is a story about finding hope in the darkest times and it's also about how sometimes you are put in situations that are bigger than your control and in order to heal you need to forgive yourself. There were many things to take away from this story, but the one that became most clear to me was that revenge never ends, and no matter how hard you try to avenge someone or something, it will always come back to hurt you in the end. This was the lesson that stood out to him the most. He took a lot of things away from this experience, but this was most important to him. In the final chapters of my book, Ishmael flew to New York to represent his country at the UNICEF conference. He gave a speech that summed up his whole journey. At the end of his speech he said, " We are all brothers and sisters. What I have learned from my experiences is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I've come to learn that if I'm going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; the revenge, and revenge and revenge will never come to an end..." This short speech summed up what he learned. After reading this passage it really made me think, after giving it a lot of thought I knew this was the universal truth. I can so easily connect to wanting to get revenge, just like so many other people. Throughout the story, I picked up many different lessons, but this was the one he based his memoir on. I didn't pick up on this until I read his speech, I soon realized all of his short memories and stories were about revenge. He wanted to avenge his family, and that's what drove him mad. In order to fully help the readers understand the main lesson he used repetitive words throughout the story. I loved this, and I've already started to write my memoir and I've used the same couple of words over and over again to help get my point across. This technique not only helps with the lesson, but it also gives your memoir a sort of sound and feel that I really love! By reading this book I've been able to pick up many ideas for my own, and I also read and learned about a very important lesson that everyone should hear. After every chapter, it left me thinking about something, whether it was a universal question or a memory that I could relate too. I loved this, and he ended the book by telling a story about a monkey and a hunter. I've thought about this since I finished the book. I can't seem to find find an answer. I will retell the story and I hope it gives you something to think about. Here is the short tale, "There was a hunter who went into the bush to kill a monkey. He had looked for only a few minutes when he saw a monkey sitting comfortably in a branch of a low tree. The monkey didn't pay him any attention, not even when his footsteps in the dried leaves rose and fell as he neared. When he was close enough and behind the tree where he could clearly see the monkey, he raised his rifle and aimed. Just when he was about to pull the trigger, the monkey spoke, "If you shoot me, your mother will die, and if you don't, your father will die." The monkey resumed its position, chewing its food, and every so often scratched his head or the side of his belly. What would you do if you were the hunter?"


The Stranger in the Photo is Me

The Stranger in the Photo is Me was a great memoir about looking back at your life and trying to remember your past experiences, he talks about how sometimes you can't remember certain things and sometimes you can't even recognize yourself. In this piece he talked about how he would look at old photos and how he couldn't recognize himself, so he referred to himself as a stranger. The writer of the story was over sixty and has lived a very good, long life. I'm still very young and haven't experienced things such as; death, love, tragedy, and loss of innocence. I look back at photos and see me, I don't see a different person like the writer. I look back at photos of when I was younger and I can remember. I may not be able to remember exactly what was running through my mind, but I can remember certain things like smells, and sounds. I look back at photos and I see me, I don't see a stranger. At some point in my life, I will look back at photos when I was 14, and I will in fact see a stranger. This memoir was really meant for people who are older, and have lived their lives. I feel as if I'm too young for this story because I'm still a child. Even though this was not targeted for kids my age, I still really enjoyed how he wrote this story and the story in general. I liked how he would talk about his tragic experiences and remain positive. He kept a very positive tone throughout the story. This is something I really enjoyed about this piece. I don't have anything I don't like about this memoir and his writing style. I really enjoyed it all. It was a wonderfully written memoir with a great choice of language that made the story even more deep and personal.


A Long Way Gone Entry 5.

Over the course of this week, I have been able to read a lot of my book. So I'm going to try my best to cover the parts I read, wish me luck. Anyway the writer of my memoir, who was once the young boy he talks about, is starting his long road to recovery. After he watched his family die and his old friend, he was recruited for the government army. This type of army is not like the kind we have for the United States, this group of men, young and old, had one mission. Their mission became quite clear to the young boy as soon as he stepped foot in the base. Their mission was to kill all the rebels. Ishmael Baeh, at the age of 13, became a drug addict and a remorseless killer. He continued this way of life for about two years, he was then picked up by the UNICEF organization and not shortly after was about to start his process of healing. In this part of the book, this is where the lesson is going to start to pop up. The writer really needed to get down to every gritty detail in order for him to be truthful. His story is very interesting and it really is a hard book to put down, but it's the way he writes that makes it so engaging. I've talked about this in other posts, but he takes a bigger more serious issue and brings out the universal truth so we can relate. His writing style is very neat and I enjoy it very much. By using this technique he made me think about my life. I thought about how young he is and how I am the same as age as him in some parts. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be him. He has already experienced so much tragedy and violence, at his age it's going to leave a deep scar that will stay with him forever. He journey towards healing will be long and hard and the writer will need to go down to every detail in order for us to really feel what he felt.

This is a picture of African rebels.



Knuckle Head was a hilarious story about siblings, and funny memories he had about his childhood and growing up with his family. This memoir was a fun one to read because I have two brothers and I felt like I could connect. He talked about how he wanted army guys, and I can't even tell you how many times my little brother Sam has asked my dad for those well-advertised toys. Even the reaction from the boy in the story was was exactly the same as Sam's. It was just fun to read about his memories and I could just picture my two brothers doing the same thing! It made me chuckle in some places because I have honestly been in the same situation as he was, with my brothers. My brothers mean so much to me, and even though I may not show it all the time, they do. I have considered writing my own memoir about them. If I chose to, I would like mine to look like Knuckle-Head. I loved how he used the sounds, and I would definitely want that in my own. Sam is always running around the house with an action figure yelling, "BAM!", "POOWWW!!", and "WOOSH!!". He is just like the boy in the story. If I were to write about them in my memoir, it would come out looking like Knuckle-Head! I really enjoyed reading this because I could REALLY relate!! And I'm sure anyone with a brother or brothers can relate to this as well. This helped me think about different ways to write my memoir, and it even helped me with what I want to write it about!

This is a picture of me and my brothers.


A Long Way Gone Entry 4.

The next couple chapters of my book were mostly about the trust issues he had with other villagers and how that affected him. This part of the story he has not only "broken down" physically, but he is starting to mentally as well. The author does a great job of describing in vivid and great detail exactly what he was thinking at the moment. When his mental state starts to go downhill, this is where the author gave deep, vivid descriptions down to the last detail of what he was thinking and experiencing. He took his long experience and made you feel like you were in his shoes. He took a thing that happened over a long period of time and got down to every gritty detail and made it feel as if you were there, and you were losing your ability to stay hopeful. He does such a great job of describing everything in striking detail. He accomplished this by talking about everything. Not just the attacks or the major events, he talked about simple things. He wrote about how happy he was to take his first bath in weeks. We as an audience can some-what relate to this; we have all been so dirty that we desperately need a cleaning. Simple things like this stick with the reader. Readers can take a bigger more severe story, such as this, and relate it to their own life's. This is one of my favorite things about his writing. Like I said in my other blog post, I'm not a very detailed writer, so I probably won't have this in my own. I did love this technique though, and I hope other people might try to use this. I'm sure they will. Once again, I love this book, it has taught me so much. I can't wait to read more!
This is a picture of Ishmael Beah from this website: <http://www.valpo.edu/mlk/speakers/index.php>

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Fireflies was a softly and beautifully written memoir with deep lessons weaved throughout, you would have never guessed it was a children's book. What made this memoir so intriguing was that you could take away different lessons from this story. One person might read it and get something different than another person. That was the beauty of the story. In my own memoir I hope to use this trait. I would like in my own memoir to write about something that different people can take different things away from. Due to the fact this was a children's story, the word choice and vocabulary were easy to follow. I still enjoyed the simplicity of her writing. I loved how she had something seem so simple when in reality, the thought and lessons behind it were inspiring, and engaging. By keeping it so easy to follow, I could put myself in his shoes. These simple memories sparked my own. I soon found myself thinking about my own experiences. I could picture clearly my friends and I running through the big, open field that was swarmed with the tiny light bugs. We laughed as we ran after the bugs, but once we got them, their lights would dim and we would set them free. By keeping the storyline simple, and the vocabulary simple, I could easily replace the boy with myself. I am not a very detailed writer, so in my own memoir I would like to use the simplistic writing style she used. I would not like my story to be a children's book, but I want to keep the short, and vivid descriptions that aren't confusing to the reader. When your memoir is very narrow and directed just for you, for example "Mother Tongue by Amy Tan", people have a harder time connecting, that's not what I would like in my own. This story was unlike the others I have read and analyzed. I enjoyed this one the best because I could personally connect to it. As I read the different stories I am figuring out what I want my memoir to look like, how I want it to sound, and how I want to teach my lesson. Every short story has given me ideas, but I think I'll take the most out of this one.

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A Long Way Gone Entry 3.

The previous chapters of A Long Way Gone were not so much about the violent rebel attacks, but how he is surviving on his own day to day. This part of the story was unlike the other chapters. This is where he really digs deep and discuses what he's really thinking, and how he sees no end to this madness. Everyday he is losing hope, and is becoming more scared for his life and his family's. He is only a twelve year old boy, he is two years younger than I am, and the same age as my brother. It's scary to think that someone Ethan's age can survive this. Just like my other blog posts, I can't connect this to my life, but as I'm reading this I can't help but imagine what it would be like if that were Ethan. It's really got me thinking. We hear about this stuff all the time on the news and in other news sources, but we don't even give it a second thought. Today, our society hears about rebels or terrorist groups attacking villages and homes, and we just shrug it off. I am guilty of doing that. But by reading this book it's really helping me see all the evil in this world, and how thousands of people experience what Ishmael Beah went through. For example, in 2013 a rebel group called the LRA is blamed for the abduction of between 60,000 and 100,000 children, many of whom have been forced to fight as child soldiers. That happened two years ago, but things like this happen everyday and go unheard of. This book has really brought to my attention what's been going on over in Seirra Leone and other African countries. This book has not only given me great ideas for my own memoir, but it has also brought to my attention the bigger issue. I think this is what the writer wanted, I think by telling his own story he wanted his readers to think about the bigger picture. This technique he used is something I really enjoy about his writing. I would love to use it in my own, but I don't think my memoir will have a "bigger picture". This book has already taught me so much, and I can't wait to learn more.

This is a picture of a young boy soldier.


Mother Tongue

Amy Tan and her mother
Mother Tongue was a beautifully written memoir about a mother and her daughter, and how her mother's native language tested their relationship when she was young. Throughout the story, Tan, the daughter, would talk positively about her mom's tongue, but then in another paragraph she would talk about a negative affect in had on her, or just something negative. She went back and forth the whole story, juxtaposing the negatives and positives of growing up with her mom. I think that technique worked well for her story, I personally wouldn't put something like this in my own memoir. I wouldn't because I didn't like the major difference in the tone change. I would prefer a more subtle change from the negatives to positives, or positives to negatives. A technique she used that I would like in my memoir would be how well she tied in facts about the issue. By doing this she helped me realize that this issue is real, and that lots of immigrant families experience this. I had a hard time relating my life to this because I am still young and I am growing up in household that speaks "proper" English. I had a hard time relating my own life to this specific issue, but after reading it, I started to really think about it, and wonder how many other people go through this. Maybe people I have met, or people I know really well. This issue had never crossed my mind before and I'm very glad I was able to discuss this issue with my classmates and really learn more about it. By reading Mother Tongue, I found things I want to put in my memoir and also things I would not put, but I also got to read and learn about her problem and personally form an opinion about it.


A Long Way Gone Entry 2.

So far, in my book, A Long Way Gone, the young boy Ishmael Beah has experienced things we only have nightmares about. He has lost his family, experienced severe hunger that forced him to steal, extreme violence, and hours of running in the painful heat. These horrific tragedies are going to stay with him for the rest of his life and will haunt him forever. I'm only six chapters into the book, but already I am excited for him to start his process towards healing. The writer's writing techniques have really helped me put myself into his shoes without experiencing anything to close to what he went through. I am sad when he was sad, and joyful when he was. I have never been in any situations such as this, but I can put myself into his shoes and almost be right there with him through his long process towards healing. That's what I would like in my memoir. Even though they will have never experienced anything close to what I went through they can still put themselves in my shoes and learn what I learned. I'm hoping I can take away not only the lesson from this memoir, but also valuable techniques for my own.

It's scary to think that this is going on in other countries right now. It's frightnening enough to read about these horrific stories, but it's hard to believe that this is real and is going on right now. This is a picture of a African village in Nigeria that was attacked by an extreme terrorist group called Boko Harram. It's hard for me to personally relate to this story, but when I read and watch on the news stories that are so simalair to A Long Way Gone, it frightneneds me. I am realizing already by reading this story how fortunate I am to live in the United States and not have to worry about attacks such as these.


Once More to the Lake

Once More to the Lake is a well written story, with a deep and powerful lesson. The writer, E.B. White, used short and well described memories of when he was a boy to really bring the lesson to life. The overall lesson was about aging, and how you will never forget your past but sometimes you just need to revisit places to remember. His lesson was very deep and meant just for him. He used long sentences, and lots of punctuation to slow his story down and give it a simple, yet sophisticated feel. I loved his writing style, I felt like I could connect to all his specifically detailed stories, and memories. The different techniques he used helped me find the lesson, and put my self in his shoes. The reason why I could connect and relate so well is because I grew up in Maine, and I've spent lots of my summer at my grandmother's camp on a small pond. I've experienced most of what he talked about in his memoir. I could picture the scenes he described, and even though I did not experience exactly what he did, I could connect to the "universal truth". I really enjoyed reading this story and I would like to try to use some his techniques in my own memoir.

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Blog Entry #1 Chap. 1

So far, the first chapter of my book has been very dramatic, and violent, and had me hooked from the first sentence. In the first chapter of his book, he experiences a lot of tragedy and violence, that will leave a deep, unforgettable memory that will haunt him forever. Throughout the chapter he talked about the terrorist attack that killed many people from his village. He explained what he was thinking and how he felt watching bloody, severely injured people run from their recently attacked home. In the book it was stated, "When he stopped vomiting, he began to cry. It was the first time I had seen a grown man cry like a child, and I felt a sting in my heart." The things he was experiencing all at once as a young child, will stay with him for ever in traumatic memory. I really like Ishmael Beah's style of writing, it's descriptive, sad, and he's not a "whiny" writer. Surprisingly, I enjoy reading about his traumatic experience and I'm excited to read more about his unforgettable journey and his healing process.


A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, is a book about a boy who was forced to go to war at a very young age. He learned how to forgive himself, regain his humanity, and heal. This does not only seem like a great story, but the lesson that was weaved throughout the story, should be a lesson that everyone hears. I chose this book because I'm not sure what lesson I want to write about in my memoir, so I picked a book with a strong and powerful message. Another reason why I chose this book is because it has really great reviews. I'm really excited to start reading this book, I can't wait to put myself in his shoes and read about what he had to go through and how he overcame it.

A Long Way Gone - Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


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