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Opwonya Innocent was born three years after unrest started in northern Uganda and three years before the formation of the anti-government Lord's Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony. Death came to his village when he was only seven, and soon his parents required him to sleep miles away from home for safety. At ten he was abducted by Kony's army and taken to a training camp for child soldiers, where brutality and violence became his new reality. After a narrow escape he was taken by government soldiers to a counseling center before returning to his family, now without the guidance of a father.

Since that time, Innocent has exhibited extraordinary resilience, pushing through these and many other challenges, ultimately securing a position which has allowed him to come to the aid of countless children in Uganda facing much of the same hardship. The book reveals, in his own words, Innocent's struggle to heal from the trauma he experienced, a growing awareness of a desire to help others and his tireless effort to realize meaningful, positive change. Innocent's inspiring story embodies the triumph of hope and determination over pain, trauma and fear.

234 pages, Paperback

Published November 30, 2016

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About the author

Kevin McLaughlin

94 books67 followers
For the Fantasy/Sci-fi/Litrpg author, try Kevin O. McLaughlin

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Jenny.
342 reviews9 followers
September 3, 2017
A rare 'more than' five stars read--I took this on a trip to read in preparation for having the author visit my library--along with his co-author and subject of the book (via Skype from Germany). I was transported to Uganda and saw clearly through the eyes of Innocent--I could see his family, his village, and the palpable fear caused by the rebel army in that place. Innocent is kidnapped from his home and forced to be a soldier at the age of 10. How he manages to survive, train, and escape after two grueling months is truly miraculous. How his life unfolds after that is just as compelling and the reader is charmed by his persistent and creative methods of achieving his dreams of education and helping his family. Mr. McLaughlin captures Innocent's voice and spirit with respect and devotion to the story. I highly recommend this moving story to everyone.
1 review1 follower
February 18, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoy reading books about the lives of people from all ..., February 18, 2017
By Destiny
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This review is from: Innocent (Paperback)
I enjoy reading books about the lives of people from all over the world so when my friend was given, "Innocent: A Spirit of Resilience," as a gift she called me right away to tell me about it. I couldn't wait to start reading. This book is well-written and left me with multiple emotions every time I read a chapter - my favorite type of book! Innocent and McLaughlin create the perfect combination of the unfortunate pain in our world and the desire to rise above that pain to make a difference. It's truly a must-read!
Profile Image for Drew Doll.
265 reviews9 followers
February 9, 2017
The whole time I was reading I kept having to remind myself just how young Innocent was during so much of this story. I'd be reading about the abuse he suffered, the decisions he had to make, or the atrocities he witnessed and I would think "My lord, this was a child experiencing all of this."

It is remarkable the man Innocent has become. This is a story of hope overcoming enormous obstacles, of how even in the darkest times of our lives there is a way forward if we can dare to grasp it. The passage where Innocent talks about his escape from the soldiers I can feel the terror and only imagine the courage it took to run. When he is dealing with the various officials and administrators, I can image that courage carrying him on no matter what obstacles people put in his way.

It's not appropriate to say I enjoyed this book - the terror, pain, and sadness it not enjoyable. I was moved by this book. I was challenged by this book. I was motivated to go out and work harder for a world where children are not kidnapped to be soldiers.

I am very, very glad I read this book.
Profile Image for Ryan.
13 reviews2 followers
December 13, 2016
After a heartbreakingly short spell of true childhood, our hero Innocent is pulled headfirst into the atrocities of war as a child soldier at the tender age of 10. He grows up fast. From the moment the author meets Innocent, many years later, we're left working to reconcile a seeming contradiction. How can a boy go through such hell, yet grow into a young man with such compassion? How does such an experience breed not cynicism and victimhood but drive and fortitude? Through hardship after hardship, Innocent refuses to be shattered by a life he did not choose.

In between chapters, like me, you might put this book down to marvel at the relative safety and abundance of the world around you. Innocent's life story is a full dose of perspective for those of us from less calamitous upbringings. With wisdom beyond his years, Innocent provides an example we can all strive toward: of peace and reconciliation over bitterness and anger. It's something our world could use more of.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1 review3 followers
January 4, 2017
A story much larger unfolds around one man's account of life as a child soldier–one that shocks, entertains, inspires and ultimately confronts readers with their own resilience. More surprising than the violent and traumatizing events of Innocent's early life, and the frequency with which they occurred, is his reaction to them.

His story offers a powerful lens on perspective, core values and adaptability. With survival and success as proof of an individual's power in changing and directing the course of their life–against so many odds–this book is a timely reminder that doing so is more about courage and choosing than chances and circumstance. A great read to start the new year.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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