Today I’m reviewing the book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban. It was written by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb.
I Am Malala is the true story about a girl who is shot because she stands up for women’s education.
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in Swat District of Pakistan’s Northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Her family is Sunni Muslim and of Pashtun ethnicity. While in Pakistan she lived in Mingora with her parents and two younger brothers. In 2008, she began speaking about education rights and even wrote a blog for BBC Urdu anonymously about the growing influence of the Taliban in Swat and of her life there. The Taliban had taken over the Swat Valley and banned television, music, girls’ education and women going shopping. They also hung the bodies of beheaded policemen around town. As of January 2009, all girls were banned from attending school and the Taliban began blowing up hundreds of girl’s schools. In February, after the boy’s school reopened, the Taliban lifted the restrictions on girls’ primary education where there was co-education. A few days later the Taliban leader announced that he was lifting the ban on women’s education and that girls could attend school until exams were held in March but they had to wear Burqas, which is a garment worn by women to cover their bodies when they are in public. In May, the Pakistani Army moved into the region to regain control and Mingora was evacuated and Malala’s family were separated. Her father went to Peshawar to protest and lobby for support while the rest of the family went to the countryside to live with relatives. Her father received a death threat over the radio and Malala decided that she wanted to become a politician, not a doctor like she had always wanted. In July 2009, they were able to return to their home. Malala spent the next couple of years giving speeches and speaking out against the Taliban and advocating for girls’ education. In 2012, Malala was planning the Malala Education Foundation, which would allow poor girls to attend school. She became more recognized and started to get death threats in the newspaper and under her door. In the summer of 2012, the Taliban leaders unanimously agreed to kill her. In October 2012, as she rode the bus home from school after taking an exam, she was shot by a Taliban gunman. The bullet went through her head, neck and ended in her shoulder. After the shooting she was sent to a military hospital in Peshawar, where doctors had to operate after she had swelling of the brain. After a five hour surgery the bullet was removed and the following day she needed to have part of her skull removed to allow room for the brain to swell. Two days later she was moved to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi where she was given a 70% chance of survival. On October 15, 2012 she was sent to the United Kingdom for further treatment. She was released from the hospital in January 2013 and a month later had surgery to reconstruct her skull and receive a cochlear implant to restore her hearing. On her 16th birthday in July 2013, Malala made her first public speech since the shooting to the UN to call for worldwide access to education. In October 2014, she was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. On her 18th Birthday, she opened a school near the Syrian border for Syrian refugees. The school is funded by the Malala Fund and offers education and training to girls aged 14 to 18.
The book starts out talking about Malala’s father and then tells of her mother and father meeting and getting married and talks of the births of her younger brothers. The majority of the book is about Malala growing up, going to school, how she spends her days and what her family life is like. She talks about her friends and schoolmates and what she hopes for the future. She talks about her culture and religion, about how the Swat Valley changes over the years and about what it was like when the Taliban took over. She goes in depth about her advocating for education and what she did to help girls receive an education. The story itself is at times heartbreaking. I found myself having to put it down and take a break before I could pick it up again. I don’t know if it was because the story is true and I found myself picturing this poor girl going through it or because it just had so many horrible things going on at times. I love how, although I don’t know Malala personally, reading her story made me feel as though I do. I watched her grow up, I listened to her speeches against the Taliban and advocating girls’ education, I witnessed her shooting, I was there with her in the hospital, I watched her recover and I rejoiced at the prospects of her future.
Malala Yousafzai ~ Malala was influenced by her father’s advocacy and through watching him, decided she wanted to be a politician. She is strong and stands up for what she believes in. Even after being threatened with death she still continued to speak up for what she was passionate about and ultimately almost her life for the cause. Malala is now 18 years old and still an advocate for education. She opened her own school in 2015 on the Syrian border.
Ziauddin Yousafzai ~ Malala’s father. He is a school owner and educational activist. His father was also an activist and that’s where he got his inspiration. He had a stutter but wanted to prove to his parents that he would be able to learn and to speak correctly. He inspired his daughter to stand up and speak up. He treated her no differently than he treated his sons.
Tor Pekai Yousafzai ~ Malala’s mother. She allows her daughter to pursue her dreams but she is also scared for her and for her husband as well. There are times when she wants to leave so that they will all be safer. She is always scared for her family, especially at night when she can hear gun shots.
Khushal Yousafzai ~ Malala’s younger brother
Atal Yousafzai ~ Malala’s youngest brother.
Not much is said about her siblings. She talks about how when they had to evacuate they had to leave their pet chickens and when they returned they were heartbroken because they had died.
Fazal Hayat “Fazlullah” ~ Militant leader. Lead the Taliban in Swat. He started an illegal local FM radio channel in The Swat Valley. He preaches forcing vice and virtue. He takes an anti-western Jihadi stance.
The Taliban ~ Islamic fundamentalist political movement. It is condemned internationally for the harsh enforcement of their interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law, which has resulted in the brutal treatment of many Afghans, especially women.
Sharia Law ~ Religious legal system governing the members of the Islamic faith. Derived from Quran and Hadith. Deals with topics including crime, politics, marriage contracts, trade regulations, economics, sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting.
There are lots more people who are mentioned throughout this memoir but these are the ones that I feel are the most important to know about.
Malala is 15 when she is gunned down by the Taliban. Close to death many times, she pulls through and comes out stronger. She is taken away from the only home she has ever known and brought to the United Kingdom. She had to leave her school, friends, and most of her family. All of this is tragic and sad. Even though she was threatened she still continued to work toward what she wanted. She was shot standing up for what she believed in and when she recovered she still continued to stand up for education.
I loved the way this memoir was written. I have never met this woman and I have never heard her speak. I just recently learned about her through this book, but I feel as though I know her through her writing. I was right there living through it and feeling everything she did. I feel like it was her telling the story the way she wanted people to hear it. I really enjoyed this memoir and I’m actually interested in learning more about Malala and what she has accomplished in her life so far.
I actually had no issues with this book other than the obvious horrible things that had to take place for this memoir to come about.
I really enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it down but also at times I had a hard time picking it up. Some of the things were so horrible and it’s just unbelievable that people had to actually live that way. I loved that in the beginning of the memoir, Malala talked about how boys were celebrated when they were born but daughters were not. She talked about how she was her fathers pride and joy and he didn’t celebrate her any less because she was a girl. That melted my heart. I loved how her parents didn’t conform to all the traditions, for instance Malala didn’t cover her face outside. I only came across this book because I had to look up political memoirs to read for the 2016 POP Sugar Reading Challenge but I am so glad that I picked this one. I am looking forward to keeping up with Malala and seeing what else she accomplishes in her lifetime.
That’s my review for I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban. I hope you enjoyed it and by no means does this review come close to what this book is really about and how amazing it truly is. I recommend it to anyone.