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Soldier Boy


Soldier Boy

In war-ravaged Uganda, Joseph Kony’s army is not for everyone. Only the bravest, most resilient and most dedicated members will survive to see another day. You must always be alert when you’re fighting for Kony. One step in the wrong direction could be your last and one toe out of line could get you killed. Always stay alert.

In Kony’s army, there is no place for friends. When there isn’t enough food to eat, or the only thing standing between you and survival is the person next to you, there is no place for humanity. Not when the person next to you will throw you under the bus if given the chance first. Trust no one.

In Kony’s army, you must never show a hint of disloyalty. Never speak or think bad thoughts towards Kony, for his loyal followers are everywhere and he can read minds. Never doubt Kony. Your faith in Kony is the only thing that will protect you in the battles to come. Your belief in him will allow you to survive.

"This book can be a little tough to read sometimes....Though if you do decide to give this book a chance, it will not disappoint. The writing is beautiful, its characters are well thought out and developed, and is a really fast read."

Uganda, 1989. Ricky Richard Anywar is abducted from his home at age 15 to serve in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as a child soldier.

Uganda, 2006. Samuel, a fictional boy representing the thousands of children abducted and forced to fight for Kony, is rescued by an organization called Friends of Orphans.

SOLDIER BOY tells two stories simultaneously, one of Ricky Anywar’s real life experiences serving in the LRA, and the other of Samuel, a representation of a boy recovering from what happened to him. This way of storytelling brings more perspective into the minds of the characters and allows for a deeper understanding of how everything that was happening to Ricky was going to develop into later on.

The conflict depicted in the book is the Ugandan Civil War. In 1986, the leader of the National Resistance Army, Yoweri Museveni, overthrew the current military regime and became the president of Uganda. Because of all of the fighting and bloodshed that happened under the many dictatorships that plagued Uganda for many years, Yoweri Museveni decided that the best course of action would be to dissolve all the political parties. This sparked a lot of outrage amongst many tribes in Uganda.

One tribe that was particularly outraged was a faction of the Acholi tribe called the Holy Spirit Movement, which was a religious sect. After a failed insurgency against Museveni’s government, Joseph Kony took over the Holy Spirit Movement and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army. He proclaimed that he was the Holy Spirit and commanded that President Museveni be overthrown and replaced by a government ruled by the Ten Commandments. When not enough of the Acholi supported his plan, Kony got mad and began launching attacks on innocent villages throughout northern Uganda. They abducted children in order to build up their ranks. This went on for 20 years and it is estimated that in this time the LRA has “abducted 96,000 children, killed more than 100,000 people, and displaced approximately 2,000,000 in northern Uganda.”

This book can be a little tough to read sometimes. It deals with a pretty heavy topic and a lot of the matter that is dealt with is described pretty explicitly in the novel. If violence is a problem for you, I would suggest avoiding this book and instead maybe educating yourself about the Ugandan Civil War on less graphic sites. Though if you do decide to give this book a chance, it will not disappoint. The writing is beautiful, its characters are well thought out and developed, and is a really fast read. I actually could not put it down. I strongly recommend this book to literally anyone who wants an amazing book to read.

Reviewed by Zoe I., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2017

Soldier Boy
by Keely Hutton