Monday, November 11, 2013

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

352p.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
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 nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. 
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. 
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
My thoughts:
I had heard of the girl, Malala, fighting for girls education in a place where women often don't have many rights. I knew this made the girl brave, and her words were wise. I was horrified to hear that she was shot by the taliban and later glad to hear she was recovering. I have been interested in her story for some time. I also like learning about cultures in places I have never been. So, when I had a chance to get this book I jumped at it. :)

The title is the answer to the question the talib asked before he fired his gun. However, this is mostly a story about a girl. Sometimes an "ordinary" (if anyone can truly be ordinary) girl. She has a huge difference in her life, her father, Ziuddian, who praised and cherished her as much as he cherished her brothers. He found that she had a spirit like his own and encouraged learning and wisdom. Her father overcame his own obstacles and had his own mind about things happening in the world. He also took action where he could and spoke with wisdom and encouraged peace where ever possible. He also included his wife in his decisions and spoke out for women's rights. In a way it was his book as much as Malala. Her mother is not absent from the book either. Much praise goes to a strong and caring mother to help shape her views of the world as well. Her mother was often found caring for those around her and would open their door to anyone in need. The compassion from both her parents seemed never ending and you can see the influence within Malala.

I want to say so much about the thoughts I had while reading this book, but I think this is a book you should have your own experience. You can see how things are universal: corruption in government, how attitudes and actions through fear create chaos, why education is crucial. You also see what it was like for Malala to live in a war zone and how constant terror impacts her, her family and neighbors. You also see her family live through and rise above the terror which gave this girl a larger voice than she thought possible. You also get an epilogue and see how the fame and inability to go back home also affects the whole family. This is a girl who loves her valley.

I give this book 5 stars. I think the book brings a culture most would not otherwise experience. It also explains why education is so important to her. I think this book achieves those goals well. It is a book that should not be missed.

Quotes:
"He believed that lack of education was the root of all of Pakistan’s problems. Ignorance allowed politicians to fool people and bad administrators to be re-elected."
He hated the fact that most people would not speak up. In his pocket he kept a poem written by Martin Niemöller, who had lived in Nazi Germany. First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
"I reassured my mother that it didn’t matter to me if my face was not symmetrical. Me, who had always cared about my appearance, how my hair looked! But when you see death, things change. “It doesn’t matter if I can’t smile or blink properly,” I told her. “I’m still me, Malala. The important thing is God has given me my life.""
"“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”"
The Malala Fund (for girls education)

23 comments:

  1. wow it must be an intense book. And the topic is really interesting. Thanks for the discovery.

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    1. It's really not that intense, but it is not at all easy at times.

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  2. I'm absolutely fascinated with this girl. She's brilliant, well-spoken and even made John Stewart speechless -- as well as my students when we watched her interview. I NEED to read her book!

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    1. You will enjoy it. Let me know what you think if you get to read it!

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  3. I am not that big on memoirs but she sure is well spoken

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    1. I'm not a huge memoir person either, but I just had to read this one!

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  4. I've got this one on my nightstand and really look forward to reading it. She is definitely an inspiring role model for young adults. SO glad you enjoyed this one, Melissa!

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  5. The focus on culture and education sounds great to me.

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  6. Sounds like a very empowering novel. What a brave girl, and wonderful family!

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  7. It is such a wonderful way to become more familiar with a different culture, but I bet it's a painful experience as well. It's not something I would normally pick up, it being so very far out of my comfort zone, but you're making it awfully difficult to resist.
    Thanks for the gorgeous review, Mel.

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    1. I think it is something you would enjoy. You would really like her interaction with her father. :)

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  8. I asked for this for Christmas, I am so curious about the culture and this remarkable young woman.

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  9. Wow, that quote made me cry. I think this would be a powerful read and is definitely an important one. I love reading books about other cultures. It sounds wonderful.

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  10. I caught part of the interview with Diane Sawyer, she is an amazing girl. She was all smiles and bubbly, definitely someone I'd want to know. I am so glad you read this book. I'm going to pick up a copy of it and read it. Thanks for reviewing it!

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  11. Wow. What an extraordinary young woman Melissa, I find myself wanting to know everything about her and her story! I love that her father was outspoken regarding women's rights and that he cherished her as much as he did her brothers. Definitely making a note of this one!

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  12. Such a brave and inspirational young woman. It angers me to think how so many take an education for granted,

    Great review, thank you.

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  13. I have heard loads about this girl and her book. Such a brave women!

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  14. I actually bought this one! I will read it because while it may be hard--she is so freaking strong!

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  15. What an extraordinary story about an every day real life heroine. I read so many fantastical tales with larger than life fictional heroines, it's so lovely to see a story about a woman making a real difference in the world. This sounds like a beautiful book. Thank you for your lovely, thoughtful review and for introducing me to it!

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  16. I am curious about this one. She sounds like an extraordinary young lady. I was worried it would be horribly depressing, but from your review it doesn't seem so. I need to grab this and give it a go.

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Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!