Friday, June 30, 2017

I am Malala Review

I am Malala: The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai

This memoir was written by Malala herself during her teenage years. She writes compellingly of her home Swat Valley in Pakistan, of her culture and most of all her love of school. She illustrates the command that the Taliban had over Pakistan, the control that they had over the lives of Pakistanis and the culture of fear that they created in the country. Very few people were willing to stand against them and speak their minds as the Taliban were harsh in their punishments and did not allow anyone to try to overthrow their dictatorship in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Malala and her father however, were very outspoken on their views of education as a right and that outspokenness is what prompted the Taliban to take action against Malala, by shooting her in the face while she was on a bus home.

The content of the book is alluring enough to attract the attention of anyone, but add to it the fact that the story is told first person by Malala herself and no avid reader would be able to go without reading it at least once. The first chapter is fantastic. She begins her story by detailing as much of the fateful bus ride as she can remember, leading up to being shot at three times, once in the face. When the story starts out with the most tragic event you can imagine happening to a child, I felt pulled in immediately and was averse to putting the book down to go to my own son's birthday party (I did put it down of course, I'm not a completely terrible parent). I could not wait to get home and read more.

The first few chapters seemed to be a mix of different writing styles. On one hand you had the pictorial account of Swat Valley, Malala's family friends and neighbours, her father's trials of opening his own school; but the on the other hand you had very dry accounts of Pakistan's political history. Once I got past the political history of Pakistan and Afghanistan I was able to get into the book again. I really enjoyed reading a first hand account of life in a foreign country as experienced by a child. The difficulties that the people had to overcome as the Taliban took control of their country were terrible, and made me admire their strength and endurance. It was also a whole different view of their country and their people during the 9/11 tragedy. Malala doesn't spend much time talking about her thoughts and opinions of the terrorist attack other than to acknowledge that it happened. I've come to understand that it's because their people were ruled by the same people that initiated the attack on the U.S so they were facing their own points of contention that they were dealing with on a daily basis.

Malala made sure to write about how much education meant to her and how important she thought it was that everyone get as much education as possible, but I felt that her message was a little lost within all the other happenings that she included in her book. I spent more time reading and interested in the actions of the Taliban and the rules that they imposed on Pakistani's than I did reading about her views on education. All in all it was an interesting and educational read but I don't think I took away from it what she had hoped for her readers to.

Final Rating:

Probability of Rereading:

Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

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