This is the author’s true story of his experiences in war-ravaged Sierra Leone, where he flees at the age of twelve from rebel fighters and is soon after recruited to fight as a soldier for the cruel and corrupt government army.  The violence he is part of as a young adolescent is horrifying – he is brainwashed into becoming little more than a killing machine, with a thirst for blood and a total lack of compassion for fellow human beings.  Parts of the book caused me to cringe, to have to close it for a moment to recompose myself.  And although there is redemption and hope in Beah’s eventual rescue and rehabilitation, what sickens me is that this is a true story.  Boys as young as eight or nine years old were drugged with cocaine, handed machine guns, and convinced that their self-worth was found in how many people they could kill in a day’s time.  I was so ignorantly unaware that this country had suffered such violent conflict for so many years.  So yes, this was a worthwhile read.  Inform yourself.