Title: I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 10-8-13
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
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.
After watching Malala’s interview on The Daily Show and constantly hearing about this book over the past couple of months, I finally decided that I should read it. Malala is a very bright young girl who has an amazing future ahead of her as a politician. Her book is filled with information about the Pakistan region and the horrors brought about by the Taliban. Her main goal is to achieve education for every single boy and girl around the world, and she’s well on her way to accomplishing this.
But, honestly, while I am in awe of Malala’s strength, bravery, and intelligence, I had trouble connecting with the story. The book is written in a very clear, but matter-of-fact tone that I just didn’t find myself becoming immersed in. I had trouble feeling the personal side of it all — at times, it felt like I was reading a text book. It almost makes sense, with her being so pro-education that it would sound like that, but it’s not a quality that I look for in the books that I read.
The majority of the book is spent detailing the recent political history of Pakistan and how the situation came about in which a schoolgirl like Malala would be shot by the Taliban. I found myself not being able to read more than a few chapters in a row because of how dense the information was. I couldn’t read it like a story…I felt instead like I was trying to memorize information for a test. All of this historical background is important, but did give it an atmosphere of almost being cold and removed. I didn’t feel personally connected to Malala and her family, and at times it kind of sounded like I was being told the tale second-hand rather than it being right from Malala herself. The final few chapters were much more what I was interested in — the aftermath of her shooting and how her family recovered from such a tragedy. As soon as she started talking about those kinds of things, I couldn’t put it down. But that was only a small section of the book, so it was a little disappointing.
Overall, I recommend this book to anybody who’s interested in learning more about the state of education in Pakistan, but not somebody who is looking for a heartfelt tale about a girl’s survival from persecution and a gunshot wound. It was interesting and educational, and I 100% support everything Malala is working for, but I just wish that it had been told from a slightly more personal perspective.