Let me preface this write up with some facts before I go further, This part of my blog is not a book review section, I wanted to name it “books I’ve been through” but I shortened it with “Books”.
It’s hard to review these kind of books and I don’t think they should be reviewed at all. They aren’t there to entertain the audience and it is not about writing style or adjectives that the author used. These books are meant to transmit a message.
I started researching on Malala ever since her story got exposed to the world, so I couldn’t wait to finish this when I received a copy from a roadside book seller. I must say, I had a very good experience buying the book too, the lady who sold me was talking a lot about books which I normally don’t expect from a normal roadside vendor. She told me that everyone should read this book especially girls. When I said it’s for my sister, she gave me an extra discount.
“I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” is the true story of a nineteen year old girl’s campaign for women’s right to education. In 2011 she was shot by the Taliban in a bus on her way home from school. Two men boarded the school bus “Who is Malala” they asked and fired gun shots, two lodged in Malala’s head. It is indeed a powerful book. Malala’s story is remarkable in light of women’s role in her culture and the groups fighting to persecute women. It was the Taliban that claimed responsibility for shooting Malala calling her crusade for education rights an “obscenity”. The first half of the book Malala describes Pakistan’s history including the history of her ancestors and the northern region of Pakistan, Swat where she lives. Malala also shares stories of her family, giving the reader a glimpse into the culture of Pakistan from a young woman’s perspective. Many of the stories involve Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai. She describes his involvement in local politics, in the community and his vocal support of education for boys and girls. There’s no doubt Malala’s passion and courage to stand up for women’s rights stems from her father’s actions and character. Ziauddin Yousafzai defied Taliban orders by running a private school that encouraged girls to attend. Malala describes the challenges and frustrations her father faced when starting the school. The motto over the school’s door read “We are committed to build for your the call of the new era”. Her father believed the school’s students could fight the enemy with pens, not swords.
Some reviewers claimed the book was poorly written, not interesting. But the book is written in the perspective of a 14 year old girl. I imagined my 14 year self at that stage of a situation and I was disappointed, I would have blamed my gender and place I born for everything but Malala is very proud of her gender and place, she don’t have words to express the beauty of Swat valley and the innocent people out there.
Malala’s story emphasizes education’s value. Looking deeper it challenges readers to examine the role of education, its purpose and function within a society. Withholding education from certain groups within a society hinders progress, threatens peace and perpetuates poverty. These principles also apply to Western cultures where education is the starting point for eliminating poverty, reducing crime and violence in impoverished neighborhoods. There are parallels; it’s thought-provoking.
It is important that we become more familiar with the cause that Malala represents, and how groups across the world like the Taliban have attempted to take women’s rights back to the dark ages. I admire her strong stance and her peaceful voice. And the narration of the beauty of Swat valley, which is probably one of the few compliments I would pay her co writer Cristina lamb.
Malala has never hidden that face not when the Taliban insisted on it, and not when she emerged from her battle for survival to stand before the members of the United Nations in July and deliver her message yet again, a little louder.
“I am Malala” is a compelling read. She as an individual is a remarkable women who is a hero for women’s right to a quality education. With her father, Malala created the Malala Fund that supports education for women including the Global Partnership for Education. The book is a good starting point for learning about the complexities of women’s rights in some countries and education access. “I am Malala” delivers a message to each reader about the value of education.