Quotes from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Ishmael Beah ·  229 pages

Rating: (134.5K votes)


“Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them. ”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“When I was young, my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.’ I thought about these words during my journey, and they kept me moving even when I didn’t know where I was going. Those words became the vehicle that drove my spirit forward and made it stay alive.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“...children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I've come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end...”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier



“We must strive to be like the moon”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I was still hesitant to let myself let go, because I still believed in the fragility of happiness.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“Some people tried to hurt us to protect themselves, their family and communities...This was one of the consequences of civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier



“ONE OF THE UNSETTLING THINGS about my journey, mentally, physically, and emotionally, was that I wasn’t sure when or where it was going to end.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“My teeth became sour as I listened to his story. It was then that I understood why he was quiet all the time.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“At night it felt as if we were walking with the moon. It followed us under thick clouds and waited for us at the other end of dark forest paths. It would disappear with sunrise but return again, hovering on our path. Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them. Under these stars I used to hear stories, but now it seemed as if it was the sky that was telling us a story as its stars fell, violently colliding with each other. The moon hid behind clouds to avoid seeing what was happening.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“That night for the first time in my life I realized that it is the physical presence of people and their spirits that gives a town life. With the absence of so many people, the town became scary., the night darker, and the silence unbearably agitating. Normally, the crickets and the birds sang in the evening before the sun went down. But this time they didn't, and the darkness set in very fast. The mood wasn't in the sky; the air was stiff, as if nature itself was afraid of what was happening.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“Sometimes I closed my eyes hard to avoid thinking, but the eye of the mind refused to be closed and continued to plague me with images.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier



“The branches of the trees looked as if they were holding hands and bowing their heads in prayer.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I was sad to leave, but I was also pleased to have met people outside of Sierra Leone. Because if I was to get killed upon my return, I knew that a memory of my existence was alive somewhere in the world.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I took out my grenade and put my fingers inside the pin. 'Do you boys want this to be your last meal, or do you want to answer his question?”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“My squad is my family, my gun is my provider, and protector, and my rule is to kill or be killed.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I was afraid to fall asleep, but staying awake also brought back painful memories. Memories I sometimes wish I could wash away, even though I am aware that they are an important part of what my life is; who I am now. I stayed up all night, anxiously waiting for daylight, so that I could fully return to my new life, to rediscover happiness I had known as a child, the joy that had stayed alive inside me even through times when being alive itself became a burden. These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which trigger memories from the past.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier



“We took a bowl each and started eating. He went back into the little room, and by the time he returned to the table with his own bowl of food to eat with us, we had already finished. He was shocked and looked around to see if we had done something else with the food.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I wanted to see my family, even if it meant dying with them.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“These days I live in three worlds: my dreams, and the experiences of my new life, which trigger memories from the past." (page 20)”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I concluded to myself that if I were the hunter, I would shoot the monkey so that it would no longer have the chance to put other hunters in the same predicament.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I was glad to see other faces and at the same time disappointed that the war had destroyed the enjoyment of the very experience of meeting people.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier



“We danced and laughed into the morning. But gradually we stopped. It was as if we all knew that we could be happy for only a brief moment.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“If you're alive, then there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


“I didn’t know what to do in my happy state. I was still hesitant to let myself let go, because I still believed in the fragility of happiness.”
― Ishmael Beah, quote from A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier


About the author

Ishmael Beah
Born place: in Sierra Leone
Born date November 23, 1980
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