I Am Malala

Melissa Alvarez | Earth Stream


No one really knew about the Swat Valley district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, and no one really knew that the Taliban were occupying this Pakistani Province, or the type of limits and restraints the women were being forced to live by. No one really ever knows about what’s really happening worldwide unless it’s in front of their own eyes. In front of 15 year old Malala Yousafzai’s eyes before everything changed in her life, was a gun at point-blank range and the sound of a bullet ringing through her ears.

In the year 2009, 11 year old Malala Yousafzai wrote a blog for BBC originally under a pseudonym, about what her life was like under the occupation of the Taliban in her home town of Mingora. The Taliban restricted girls from being able to attend school and receive a quality education (let alone any education), and if disobeyed, they would more than likely be facing death. Malala wrote all about how she believes everyone deserves equal rights to an education. She began giving interviews, appearing on TV, speaking with her father at events, taking part in a documentary for the New York Times. She slowly but surely became popularized from the outside, which posed a threat to the Taliban that a teenage girl was speaking out against them. On the afternoon of October 9th, 2012, the Taliban boarded the school bus Malala was taking, and shot her in the head while injuring two others. Yousafzai’s incredible recovery has only achieved the opposite of the Taliban’s hopes. Malala is now the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history for her bravery and activism, and she continues to speak at major events (the United Nations, the Liberty Medal award ceremony, the Forbe’s Best Inventors Under 30, etc.), and continues to spread her cause globally.

The book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” leaves you wondering about what’s next on Malala’s list of remarkable experiences. She writes all about the love and melancholy she feels by having to be separated from her home in Pakistan. Readers are taken back to the short amount of time Malala spent as an adolescent, with her childhood stories and observations she made about her family early on. She writes about how and why her father was such an inspiration and motivator to her when she needed it, and how he’s been there every step of the way with her. The descriptiveness throughout the entire book gives the audience a very vivid and surreal experience, almost as if these are our memories and not hers. From the very beginning of the book, any reader is caught and fished in as Malala leaves them wanting more. From the very beginning, the story line cuts right to the chase down to the moment they pulled the trigger to her head. You won’t be able to put it down.

Some major themes recognized in this book are survival, family, the right to an education, and the definition of beauty. Malala has overcome and written not only about hardships she’s experienced personally, but the hardships her mother has also experienced, and the women before her. It is not uncommon in her Valley for women to give up their rights just to stay home, cook, clean, and raise sons. It is what they’ve been programmed to do by their ancestors, but it is something Malala has refused to do with the help and guidance of her father. Throughout this tale, you will also pick up on a little bit of ‘Pashto’ as Malala refers to certain things with certain titles from her native language (with an english translation accompanied). You will learn more about family than ever before, and the power of what the support from the right people can help you to accomplish. Also from this book will be a strong reminder about home and what it means to have a place you come from and find to be beautiful in every way that is your own; Be it the bustling city streets of New York, to the beautiful silence of the Mingora mountains, we each have some place to call home and will remember to love after finishing this book.

Malala to me almost represents a real-life Katniss Everdeen. She is very much the survivor, the motivator, the one who never loses sight of her beliefs, and the one who stood out. If you are interested to hear a very visual tale of survival, near death experiences, and a personal comeback into a new and more powerful life that the author is still adjusting to, this book is very highly recommended.

Title: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Author: Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Date of Publication: November 26th, 2013

Pages: 464

Genre: Non-Fiction

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