Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
If someone was curious about the diamond wars in Sierra Leone and wanted to learn more, it would be more beneficial for them to read A Long Way Gone than to watch Blood Diamond. This is because A Long Way Gone is a firsthand account of the problems in Sierra Leone, the novel is much less sensationalized than the film, and the novel would overall be a more detailed and immersive experience.
A Long Way Gone is a firsthand account of the war by Sierra Leone native Ishmael Beah. He actually murdered whole villages along with his extremely young squadmates, and saw all the trouble caused in his country because of the blood diamonds. This would make the novel more genuine overall compared to the movie Blood Diamond.
The second reason I would recommend the book over the movie is that the book is much less sensationalized. A large amount of the population is easily bored and has a short attention span if the content isn’t very entertaining. Therefore, many adaptations of events are made more exciting by adding more action, characters, and exaggerated events. I believe that the movie Blood Diamond is a prime example of this. A large portion of the movie is the main characters shooting and fleeing from imminent danger; for some contrast, the majority of A Long Way Gone is Ishmael walking with his group, and Ishmael alone in rehabilitation. Only a small part of Ishmael’s true story is violence and intense fleeing, which shows just how sensationalized Blood Diamond really is. If I was trying to find more accurate information on a subject, I would not want to watch a movie that was marketed towards the Hollywood crowd.
The third and final reason I would recommend the memoir over the film is because it would be more detailed and immersive. This is one of the major reasons why most books are better than their movie adaptations. The books can capture details than movies simply cannot. By using diverse adjectives, adverbs, and unique word choices, books can create amazing imagery, or help the reader to create their own imagery. For example: “On one verandah we saw an old man sitting in a chair as if asleep. There was a bullet hole in his forehead, and underneath the stoop lay the bodies of two men whose genitals, limbs, and hands had been chopped off by a machete that was on the ground next to their piled body parts” (Beah 27). This scene would likely be much too gruesome to display in a movie theater, even if the film were rated R. In a book, however, anything goes; the author can write whatever they want with basically no restrictions, and the reader can use the passage given to them to form a scene in their head as gruesome as needed. This adds to the appeal of the book, and makes the situation being written feel more like reality than a fantasy story.
In conclusion, A Long Way Gone provides a much more detailed, immersive, and genuine experience compared to Blood Diamond. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone wishing to learn more about the Sierra Leone crisis, though I did enjoy both the book and the novel. If possible, I would recommend both reading the book and watching a movie to get two different perspectives.