Book Review #71 – I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Hello guys!

It’s time for another non-fiction review. I bring you I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (pt. Eu, Malala: A minha luta pela liberdade e pelo direito à educação), by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.

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Once child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.

If you’re a feminist, like myself, you’re most likely aware of Malala’s work and a bit of her story already. She is a Pakistani girl who always fought against the Taliban oppression in her region, specially against their wrong ideals of preventing girls from getting educated. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the group and had to flee her country, living now in England but still continuing her activism. In this book, she tells her story, right from the beginning of it all.

I really admired Malala before starting this and I’m glad to say that reading this book only made me admire and appreciate her strength even more.

To understand the girl, you have to know her family and how she was brought up. More importantly, you have to be familiar with her father’s work as a teacher and education spokesman. So, a big chunk of this book was dedicated to him and his story. Yeah, that took me a bit by surprise but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s absolutely essential to understand how influencing and supporting her father is to her. If he wasn’t the person he is, Malala wouldn’t be herself either. It all made perfect sense to me.

I was deeply touched by all the stories about that little valley in Pakistan (and all over the country really). I loved to learn about their traditions and lives there, so it made me very sad to see this radicals take that away from the people. I’m not a religious people, I never was. Although, I can understand someone’s faith and their will to follow the ideals presented. What I can’t and will never understand is how some decide to deliberately twist the words of their messiahs to their benefit and ruin other people’s lives in the name of a higher being. That applies to any religion. Besides, if people want to live in sin and burn in hell, why not just let them?! It’s they’re problem after all. All jokes aside, it really hit me when Malala talks about how taliban was a word that used to mean something very different from what it does today.

This book really made me reflect on the importance of education. Knowing how to read and write, specially, are the pillars to avoid being manipulated and oppressed by others. That’s why it is so feared. If people had the means necessary to understand the matters in question better, they would never let things get to this point. Thinking about that makes me extremely sad. I live in a fairly developed country where going to school is a right, not a privilege. I can’t imagine what it’s like to want to learn and simply be denied of that.

The writing in this is quite good. There’s not a lot of disparity between the chapters or the paragraphs even, so it was never evident to me where Lamb had the most influence (I pretty much never even remembered that she did work on this). After the part where Malala is shot, near the end of the book, things get a bit more confusing and a bit incoherent (in lack of a better word) but I blame that more on the physical and emotional state of the girl at that time than on her lack of talent to express herself (which can never be doubted).

I can’t deny that this is actually quite a sad read. Neither Malala’s or Pakistan’s story is 100% happy. But I can’t deny how inspirational it is too. This book makes me want to take some kind of action. I feel that often. Activism is something I was always been drawn to, although I never actually engaged in anything of that sort, directly at least (do online rants count?). This read made me consider that a bit more.

I loved learning more about a girl I admire and a country I wasn’t really familiar with. I would definitely recommend this to everyone, whether you’re familiar with Malala, activism, feminism, terrorism or none of the above. It’s simply a wonderful read.

Here’s one of the many beautiful quotes:

Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.

Have any of you read this? If so, let me know what you thought of it!

See you next time,

Cat.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review #71 – I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

  1. I’m glad that you read this book, Cat. Malala is such an inspirational young woman and I hope to one day become even half the woman she is now. But as a Pakistani who was born and raised in Pakistan (I mean, I spent 17 years of my life there), I have a huge problem with the west’s obsession with her. While some areas definitely have a big problem with women’s education (including Malala’s since that area is very close to Afghanistan, from where lots of terrorists infiltrate Pakistan’s borders despite the military operations), Pakistan isn’t as backward as a lot of people have begun to think. There is inequality in education, but by a very little margin. In fact, women outnumber men in higher education institutions. It pains me to see that most people look at this young woman’s story and decide to paint the entire country with a brush. I mean, I’ve been asked things like “How do you know English if your people shoot women for going to school?” This is one story… what about the millions of girls who do go to school…
    Sorry about the rant. I’m not taking anything away from Malala because like I said, she’s absolutely incredible and inspirational and such a light for the women who DON’T get the education they so deserve. But I’m very much disturbed by how obsessed the West is with her story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand your frustration with the issue. I guess the whole “martyr” part of her story is why there seems to be a fascination for her specifically. the little I know from her and Pakistan comes pretty much from reading this, and from what I understood she talks specifically about her small valley and even is amazed to see women with higher educations in other cities of the country!
      but of course, generalisation takes a big part on the whole issue so I guess that’s why her reality is applied to the whole territory. and I speak for myself, at least here in portugal, we know little to nothing about middle eastern countries, specially the parts which aren’t occupied by terrorists. so the true reality of those places aren’t really clear to us I would say

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read this book, but I am familar with her passion for educating women an her story…sort of. I admire her passion and desire to defy what is socially expected in her country and most importantly, to speak out for what is right. Good on her! If we here half as brave as her the world will be so different.

    Like

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