Title: War Brothers
Authors: Sharon E. McKay and Daniel Lafrance
Genre: Graphic Novel
Published: Annick Press Ltd. Feb 2013
Source: via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
The unforgettable story of a child soldier.
Much has been written about the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, where, under the leadership of the infamous Joseph Kony, young children are kidnapped and forced to become rebel soldiers. Author Sharon McKay, whose research often involves spending time in the countries she writes about, traveled to Gulu, Uganda to record true-life accounts from Kony’s victims. Their stories are full of horror, but they also capture the resilience, friendship, and courage that these children experienced.
Based on Sharon’s interviews, War Brothers was originally published as a novel in 2008. It tells the harrowing tale of 14-year-old Jacob who, along with his friends, is brutally abducted and pressed into service as a rebel soldier. Together with hundreds of other children, he is forced to commit brutal acts. Convinced that he and his friends will somehow be rescued, he struggles to hold on to his sanity as time passes with no sign of help. Finally, Jacob engineers a daring escape and returns to his village only to discover that he and his friends are feared and reviled as former child soldiers.
In this graphic novel version of War Brothers, artist Daniel Lafrance captures the terror, poignancy, and hope expressed in the text. In the best tradition of the graphic novel, this one brings an immediacy and power to a story that will sear itself into the mind of every reader.
MY REVIEW (3 stars)
By the words Amnesty International , there are several thousand child soldiers worldwide. It's absolutely horrifying. Children shouldn't be at war. There shouldn't be war in the world at all. In 2012, world was shaken by the Kony 2012 video, that called the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of LRA. His name is also mentioned in this book several times.
Intended for ages 14 and up, War Brothers is narrated by Jacob who has been abducted from his school with his friends by assassins . And even if it's strongly forbidden, some children form a friendship, together they conquer the horrifying soldier period in their life with hope for the future.
War Brothers definitely was a miserable read, full of unfathomable brutality of humankind. Sharon E. McKay has done a fantastic job interviewing former child soldiers and putting together this story. I also liked the artwork.But I'd say too much if I said that War Brothers was an unforgettable read for me. Sad, yes. But not unforgettable. Unfortunately, real life is more miserable than this book, and I am not going to forget that there are several thousands of child soldiers worldwide, trust me.
If you like to read books/ graphic novels on societal issues, this book might be for you.