|This is a picture of Laura Simms the famous storyteller|
I feel like the character that means the most to me in this book is Uncle Tommy. Uncle Tommy is an amazing person. He took in other members of Ishmael, but never had any of his own children. When Tommy took Ishmael in as his own this really showed how great he was. He knew Ishmael was a child soldier. I can relate to Uncle Tommy a little bit. I grew up in foster care and jumped from foster family to foster family. My parents were at one point my foster family. It’s a pretty cool story how I came to meet my parents. My foster mom in Columbus was going out of town for a weekend. So, they sent me up here to Marion for two day. I never left. We hit it off and got along. They became my foster parents. Two years later when I was in eight grade I was adopted. Like Uncle Tommy my parents adopted my two brothers and sister before me. They never had any of their own children. It is very hard for a person to accept someone else’s kid as their own. The crazy thing is people do this every day. They are heroes in my book. My parents are my heroes for sure.
We have seen that Ishmael has taken steps forward and took some backward. We know now that Ishmael has beat most of his problems. Of course he still lives with the PTSD. Ishmael hated the fact that people were there to help him. He was trying to get back to the front line, so he could fight again. At the end of the book Freetown was being attacked. People were dying. Ishmael decides to leave and make the journey to New York. Ishmael kept writing that he could not become a soldier again. They would kill him for saying no when asked to fight again. If Ishmael lived next door to me only knowing he was a child soldier. I would fear for my family’s safety. Most likely get up and leave. Now after reading this book and seeing how Ishmael really is like. I’d love to meet him. He was faced with challenges but he overcame them. I live my life based on adversity and that’s what Ishmael is all about.
The lesson I took away from this book was there are good people in this world. I again am going to talk about Uncle Tommy. Ishmael was told that the goal of his rehab was to end up back in society. Beah brings up that his father had a brother in Freetown. Ishmael did not get his hopes up for him never met Uncle Tommy before. One day Ishmael met his uncle for the first time. Ishmael did not respond at first. Uncle Tommy offered to Take Ishmael in as his own and take care of him. Ishmael told his Uncle Tommy thank you but we don’t even know each other. Uncle Tommy’s response is the statement I’ll never forget. On page 172 mid way down. ‘“Thank you for coming to see me. I really appreciate that you have offered me to stay with you. But I don’t even know you.” I put my head down. “Like I said, we cannot go back. But we can start from here. I am your family and that is enough for us to begin liking each other,” He replied, rubbing my head and laughing a little. I got up and hugged my uncle, and he embraced me harder than he had the first time and kissed me on the forehead.” Out of all the bad in the book. Ishmael deserved to have this. Uncle Tommy understands Ishmael isn’t perfect. But Ishmael is my blood and I’ll do anything for him.
I could not stop think what happened to Ishmael after the book ended. The book stopped before he even reached New York. So I did my research and found out some facts about Ishmael currently. I found out that Ishmael married Priscillia Kounkoa in 2013. Ishmael is 35 years old. He was born November 23, 1980. Ishmael did get an education. He went to United Nations International School and Oberlin College. A little fun fact is Oberlin College is right here in Ohio. Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college. Ishmael moved to New York City in 1998. Ishmael is a member of Human Rights Watch Children’s Right Division Advisory Committee. Ishmael founded Ishmael Beah Foundation. The foundation finds new lives for former child soldiers giving them a second chance. Ishmael currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
This picture is of Ishmael Beah's Wife