15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2014
"I Am Malala" Malala Yousafzai is the book about a brave girl in difficult times, a girl who opposed the injustice and almost paid for that with her life.
Inside you'll find her story that starts with the Taliban occupation of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, and all the unpleasant changes that have occurred due to that for women, and especially female children.
Malala Yousafzai refused to be quiet, she wanted to go to school, she fought for her education and future.
Unfortunately, one day when she was returning home from school with the bus, she was shot in the head and although it was hard to expect that she'll survive, she didn't only do that, but a lot more.
She recovered, and due to her bravery she become symbol of oppressed women fighting for education and other human rights, she spoke in United Nations and become youngest ever nominee for the Peace Nobel Prize.
Therefore, if you want to read a story about courage, about the impossible that could be achieved, becoming even harder if you are a child, I can fully recommend you to read this book.
It will inspire you and show you that the human spirit cannot be suppressed by any prohibitions, because thanks to him we as human beings have become the only intelligent beings in this world.
And no matter how hard some mad regime tries to extinguish our spirit and freedom, it will always rise in someone's character, as was the case with a young Malala.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In 1997 Malala Yousafzai was born in the remote Swat Valley of Pakistan, and by 2013 she had received many accolades and had been featured in Time Magazine as one of ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’. A year later she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to provision of education for females in the face of a Taliban edict banning schooling for girls and imposition of harsh laws restricting women. Purdah was strictly enforced - the cultural and religious practice of requiring women to cover themselves, secluding them by keeping them in their homes, and not allowing anything except when accompanied by family members - and punishment for non-compliance was severe. Demolishing school buildings and murder were only two of a vast array of repressive measures.
The book ‘I Am Malala’ was co-written with Christina Lamb, an award winning foreign correspondent, and it begins with a ‘Prologue’ describing how Malala was shot on her way home from school. Narrative is then divided into parts - ‘Before the Taliban’, ‘The Valley of Death’, ‘Three Girls, Three Bullets’, ‘Between Life and Death’, ‘A Second Life’ and an ‘Epilogue’. The writing is in a simplistic style that somehow adds power to Malala’s message, and she has a clever knack of putting things in a nutshell or reducing them to homilies. As her story progresses it comes across as increasingly real and serious, and it becomes more and more thought-provoking. An eye-opener is realisation of how God loving is Malala when it is religious extremes that she is fighting against.
As a Pashtun originally from Afghanistan Malala gives historical background and she describes how the Swat Valley was taken over by the Taliban with reference to the many complexities involved. She provides detail on political upheavals, military involvement, and dealings with the West, covering a wide spectrum of atrocities from jihadi activities in her own country to drone warfare by the Americans. Insights are provided to family feuds, generational revenge, honour killings and other atrocities that are beyond most readers’ comprehension. Malala does not flinch from her indictment of such issues, but she is inspiring in her advocacy of tolerance and peace. She is acknowledged as a symbolic global figure in the struggle for daughters to be as prized as sons.
‘I Am Malala’ is also her father’s story. As a poor child he dreamt of opening a school providing quality education, but also he was politically motivated and wanted democracy and peace. As a young man he shifted between secularism and socialism on one side, and with militant Islam on the other. In Swat he achieved respect and status, and he encouraged Malala to speak out both locally and in cooperation with the BBC and with foreign journalists. They formed a formidable team and they are inspirational worldwide; yet they still face opposition in their own country.
‘I Am Malala’ ends as she is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and on her sixteenth birthday she addresses the UN. Malala states how she doesn’t want to be remembered as ‘the girl who was shot by the Taliban’ but as ‘the girl who fought for education’. This book will ensure her campaign is her legacy, but Malala realises there are still huge difficulties in Pakistan with the nation remaining in turmoil. Readers of ‘I Am Malala’ will have greater understanding of issues faced, and hopefully a greater belief in how individuals can inspire change in the world.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2013
An incredible brave, intelligent and strong willed girl, hard to believe she is only 16, talks about her past in her home town of Swat Valley. An interesting read about how life is like in that part of Pakistan, life under Taliban rule, the endless corruption in all areas of their government and an incredible story about her father. Malala wouldn't be the girl she is today (minus the shooting) without the help of her father and she conveys this a lot in her book. She talks about the freedom of thought and expression he allowed Malala to have even though his first born was a daughter (a girl being born in a Pakistani family is sometimes looked at as 'unlucky' by others whereas when a son is born in to a family there is a big fanfare, congratulations and gifts). It was interesting to read, towards the latter of the book, about the shooting, the conditions of the hospital and the two Doctors from Birmingham who were 2 of many that helped save Malala's life.
It was a great read and certainly made me appreciate how easy we have it here when it comes to School's/College's and how we take that for granted. Its only when something is taken from you that you realise how much it means to you and this is what one of the things Malala talks about in her book. I finished this book within a couple of days. How life was in Pakistan under Taliban rule really gripped me that I couldn't put the book down.
I am glad that she has appeared on numerous talk shows in America and spreading the message of education for all boys and girls as their basic rights in countries, such as Pakistan. I fully recommend this book to young adults/teenagers and maybe they'll realise that they have something incredible in this country where they might not have had this privilege in a third world country to achieve their full potential.
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2013
This book should be a 'must-read' for everyone! Not only is it a story of courage and inspiration as the first reviewer wrote, it also describes the richness of friendship in a family and among friends of the Yousafzai family. The book is well-written and interesting and I couldn't put it down! The background to events in the Swat Valley is valuable as are the descriptions of ordinary life in Mingora, if you can call it 'ordinary' with the threat of Talibanisation.
Another valuable point of the book is its insights into Islam as it is practised by a devout but not fundamentalist family and their emphasis on prayer. I have always found that prayer unites people of any creed and 'I am Malala' confirmed this opinion, (I write from a Christian perspective). I hope that faith and community uphold the family now in their new home and that they will continue to be ambassadors for Islam as a religion of peace - needed in our multi-cultural society today.
Thank you, Malala, for a wonderful courage and a witness that the pen and the word are far mightier than the sword.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2013
This is not only the incredible story of an amazing young woman but that of her whole family and what life was/is like under the Taliban. It is truly an inspirational account of their courage in standing up for their beliefs in the face of incredible strain and adversity.
Heart-wrenching, thought-provoking and moving, this is a book everyone should read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2015
It would be unfair to call Christina Lamb a ghost writer because she is a respected journalist with a huge amount of knowledge of the area. Her main challenge was that although Malala has lived through some momentous events, she is still very young. Consequently, the first half of the book isn't really her story at all. It's the story of her family, particularly her father and she has had to accept his version of events, even if they don't always ring true. Interspersed with this is some quite detailed information about the political situation in Pakistan, which wasn't very interesting and seemed strange when written in the tone of a teenage girl who can have had no real knowledge of any of this.
The four stars are for the second half of the book, which is when I began to engage with Malala's story. When she begins to write from personal recollection, the prose becomes more vivid and she able to make the reader feel the frustration of living under the Taliban. For me, the most compelling part is the aftermath of the shooting when she was being treated in Birmingham, at first without any of her family beside her.
I admire Malala's courage and wish her well, but I fear it will be a long time before she able to return to her beloved Swat Valley.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2014
this is one of my favourite books ever. it is basically malala's life story and includes a lot of the history of pakistan in it. i would highly recommend it for alk ages - i first read it when i was 10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2015
I found myself reading this book in segments with gaps in between, In some cases Malala came across as a mature young lady & yet in some cases she was more like her age. This story reminded me of how lucky we are to have so many things at our fingertips, such as schooling & independence. This is written and explained throughout about all the joys and innocence in her young life, with the complete polar opposite of tragedy of the shooting etc. I think a younger person could read this book and understand it equally as well as an adult.
Malala gains in strength & stands up for her beliefs no matter what. She could have chosen to blend into the background but Malala, grabs life with both hands and goes for it. A little hard to read in places but definitely worth a look.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2015
A well written story of a remarkable girl. I saw a TV programme about her in 2013 so knew that she had campaigned before her shooting and that she wasn't just shot at random but what I didn't know was that she came from a small town in the "back of beyond". While it's principally about her early life, how she came to be shot and how she comes to be living in Britain, I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of the Swat District. It's hard to imagine a more different place from central Birmingham. It will be interesting to see whether her high profile is maintained as she grows older. I find myself hoping she won't meet the same fate as Benazir Bhutto.
I wish I'd discovered the glossary before I finished the book!
on 31 July 2015
I Am Malala is a book that caught my eye when I was at McCarron Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, UK. I was about to take my flight back to Denver. I had no intentions of buying a book, but I could not let this one go past, so I bought it and I am very glad I did. Malala Yousafei is a young Pakistani woman who now lives in Birmingham, England, UK. She was shot by the Taliban when she was only a girl at school because of the strong belief she and her father hold that girls, as well as boys, should be educated. The Taliban consider this idea so radical and so dangerous that they shot Malala in the head, hoping to kill her and punish her father. It is not clear how the Taliban imagined that shooting a 15-year-old girl would somehow enhance their revolution, but young woman was not to be so easily silenced. She has since become the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
I Am Malala, is the fearless memoir, of Malala Yousafei co-written with journalist Christina Lamb. It begins on Malala's drive home from school on the day she was shot in the head. "Who is Malala?" the young gunman who stopped the Khushal school van asked. None of the girls answered but the girls all looked at Malala. She replied "I am Malala".
She was only ten years old when the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan came to the beautiful Swat Valley she lived in with her mother, father and two younger brothers. Malala had established herself as an international advocate for girls' education in Pakistan by the time she was 11 years old, so she was targeted by the Taliban for "spreading secularism".
This book is remarkable. Malala's voice has the purity, but also the rigidity, of a principled person. Whether she is being a competitive teenager and noting who she beat in exams or writing about the blog she wrote for the BBC that catapulted her on to the international stage, or describing about Pakistan's politicians as useless, Malala is passionate. Her words and views are fearless and intense. Her faith and her duty to the cause of girls' education is unquestionable, her adoration for her father, who is undoubtedly her role model and comrade in arms, is moving. Indeed, I Am Malala is as much Malala's father's story as it is his daughter's, and is a touching tribute to his quest to be educated and to build a model school. Malala writes of her father sitting late into the night, cooking and bagging popcorn to sell so that he would have extra income for his project.
Her pain at the violence carried out in the name of Islam palpable. Malala also touches the heart of Pakistan's troubles. She writes of Swat that it was some 20 years after the partition of Pakistan from India that the Wali of the Swat Valley renounced his power and brought his kingdom into Pakistan. She describes what it means to be from Pakistan. It is a country of 300 languages, diverse cultures, religions and identities. However,the army and bureaucracy and indeed the functioning power are centralised in the Punjab, while the remaining three provinces Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtun Khwa feel like unequal shareholders in the idea that is Pakistan. Until power is fairly shared among the four provinces the threat of secession will be a cloud hanging over the country. The burgeoning power of the Taliban in today's Pakistan should not be much of a surprise to those who understand, as Malala does, the need to redress these ethnic wounds.
Although Malala is feted around the globe for her eloquence, intelligence and bravery, she is much maligned in Pakistan. Her haters and conspiracy theorists would do well to read her book. Malala is an ardent critic of the Taliban, but she also speaks passionately against America's drone warfare, the violence and abductions carried out by the Pakistani military. Yet, even as Malala says she does not hate the man who shot her, in Pakistan, anger towards this young campaigner is as strong as ever. Amid the bile, there is a genuine concern that this extraordinary girl's courageous and articulate message will be used by one power or other for its own agendas.
She is young: and the forces around her are strong and often sinister when it comes to their designs on the global south. However, Malala's fight should be ours too. We should all insist on more inclusion of women and education for all. This is a seminal memoir. I commend I am Malala to you without resevation.