Major Characters-
Ishmael Beah- Narrator of this true and epic journey, Ishmael loses everybody close to him in the Sierra Leone Civil War. At age thirteen he
is picked up in the army. He is later picked up by UNICEF, and moved to a rehab center. Ishmael has to find a way to escape the horrors he found in the army. Ishmael is a boy, whose life is completely destroyed when the rebels attack. He goes from being a kind boy, to a soldier just as cruel as the rebels. In the end, he regains his humanity. In the story, he is a dynamic character.

Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah

Esther- She is a nurse at the Benin home, who aides Ishmael in his struggle to rehab and to forget about the horrors of the war.

Alhaji- Alhaji befriends Ishmael while in the army. In Ishmael's early struggles, Alhaji is the only family that Ishmael has.

Uncle Tommy- When the time comes for Ishmael to move out of the rehabilitation center, Ishmael meets with good fortune when his Uncle Tommy is willing to take him in. Uncle Tommy is very kind and understanding of Ishmael's situation, so he treats him like his own son.

Minor Characters
Lieutenant- Despite being a ruthless, killer, he makes an impact on Ishmael’s life.

Junior Beah- Junior is Ishmael’s brother, who is everything Ishmael has when they are fleeing the rebels in Mattru Jong. However, during an attack by the rebels, Ishmael and Junior lose each other. He goes in search of Ishmael, but is killed by the rebels when he is in the same village as Ishmael.

Laura Simms- Ishmael meets Laura in New York City. She helps those who have gone through war by storytelling. Ishmael is immediately attracted to her. She takes care of him while he is in New York, and when Ishmael returns to America, she becomes his mother.

Leslie- Leslie's job is to find a home for Ishmael. He finds Uncle Tommy, and he brings him to meet Ishmael.


Brothers Junior and Ishmael have very similar personalities. They are both caring for each other, and they are great friends.

Friends Ishmael and Alhaji are also very similar. Despite Alhaji being two years older, they have similar personalities. They are both brave and strong. Also, both their lives are completely turned upside down by the war.

Esther and Ishmael are completely different. During Ishmael’s time in the Benin Home, he is cold and sad. Esther is a cheerful and optimistic nurse.