Book Review: I Am Malala

|+| Triggers: Rape mention, terrorism |+|

“Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human” ~Malala (I Am Malala)


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Author: Malala Yousafzai

Genre: Memoir/Autobiography

Summary: When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

My Opinion: To get inside the mind of Malala and hear her story in her own words, without all the media slants is really wonderful. I learned so much about many things, and as usual Malala’s passion shines through. The only reason I didn’t give this book a perfect rating was because some vital transitions were confusing and there were some issues brought up and then never expanded upon which added to my confusion, especially when Malala has told us how important those things were. Because of those issues I gave this book 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5 on Goodreads).

The first thing I learned about Malala when I started reading was how passionate she is. She’s passionate about her home in Swat, her family, her religion, and as we all know, her education. Through her passion I learned a lot and found myself becoming much more passionate about education.

I don’t know how I got the idea in my head, but I always thought that the Middle East was a place filled with deserts and had very little beauty, but a whole lot of vital history. Oh boy was I wrong. Malala paints a beautiful picture of her home in the Swat valley, and I learned that before the Taliban had invaded it had been a massive tourist destination.

As Malala shares her home with us, she also shares her religion, which is deeply entwined with her homeland and family.  She goes deep, sharing how her family members approach their faith, and how she approaches it. She talks about Christian/Muslim interactions as well, yet she never forces her religious beliefs on the reader. Throughout all of this there is a clear focus on her family, particularly her father.

Perhaps what’s most interesting in the book is that the book starts in the Swat valley, not with Malala being shot, but many years before that, with her father’s passion for education. This book is equally about Malala as it is her father. I came to love and respect her father as much as I love and respect Malala. Both are incredibly inspiring people and to read about how their stories are so connected was a really wonderful experience.

I’m sure the book would have been just as big of a seller if Malala had chosen to focus on herself, what happened when she was shot and after, but instead she opted to focus on her family and the events leading up to her brush with death. Because of that the book is so much more profound and inspiring. And throughout it all Malala never puts anyone down. Instead she challenges their beliefs and encourages people to look at things differently and to be open with their hearts and minds.

Malala and her family and their story is completely inspiring and vitally important. This story holds so much information and honestly if you want to be on top of things in the world you really have to read this book. This is an insider’s story, and it’s told in such a beautiful way. Even if you aren’t interested in politics, you should still read this because Malala’s passion is contagious and uplifting. Her thirst for life is incredible, and until I started reading it I had no idea how much I needed this book. I’m willing to bet that a lot of other readers will feel the same way. So really, you should give this book a go.

TL;DR: This book is a must read. It’s a vitally important book not only about education and women, but about religions, politics that are still driving the world, how families impact children, and what it really takes to unite people. It’s not always an easy read due to the subject, but it is well worth it. True there are some confusing elements in the book, but they don’t overshadow the heart of the story or Malala’s passion. As I’ve said, this book is a must read.


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