I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban ~Goodreads~
Published by Phoenix 2014
Paperback edition 320 pages ~Book Depository~
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 9th 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 became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.
I’m sure there are few people in the world who haven’t heard of Malala. Admittedly before reading this all I knew was that she was shot by the Taliban and had become a huge public figure for a child’s right to education, other than this I didn’t know anything about her. From reading this book I have learnt a wealth of information not just on Malala herself, but of the culture she belongs to and life in a country that had become repressed by an infamous terrorist group.
Malala begins her story just like any other; her upbringing and her love for education and family life. She gives some insight into the religion she follows, Islam and discusses to great length the different groups there are and the various beliefs that they all have. Even having studied religious studies in school, there was so much new information I learnt from Malala about the religion and it was just fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the parts where she shares her beliefs and how she doesn’t have mutual agreement on some matters with other Muslims. For example, she doesn’t like to wear a burka whereas other Muslim women do. Throughout the book it breaks down the misconceptions of what Islam is, and I found this to be the most important element of the book. For those with little knowledge on the religion of Islam, Malala’s words are like a breath of fresh air and I couldn’t be more engrossed.
What is striking with Malala’s story I think is how her whole life has been about education, her father owning a school and being a teacher himself and wanting to give the opportunity to others. This definitely rubbed off onto Malala and she conveys how important her father is to her.
This young woman has achieved so much that no one could ever imagine achieving in a lifetime, and at no point does she waver or fear the consequences of what she is promoting. She has remained strong in the most awful of times, from being shot, to having to be exiled from her homeland to escape the threat of the Taliban again. Reading her recollection of being in hospital really touched me because of how brave and positive she was with every surgery she had to have to put her on the road to recovery, I could never imagine being in that situation and being so calm and collected as she appeared to be.
There is no word to describe this book other than inspirational. Malala has made me more aware of the way I think and perceive situations, how precious life is, and that anyone can make a difference to help make the world a better place.