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I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

GoodReads Synopsis:

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

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.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

I think before I talk about Malala’a book I should mention that I’m not a big reader of non-fiction. I think the last non-fiction book I read may have been Michael McIntyre’s autobiography, so picking up this was going to be an interesting read. I’ve been interested in Malala’s story for a while, and after she won the Nobel Peace Prize this year I realised that I wanted to know more, so it was time to read this.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to get “into”. Even though I’m an historian in nature, I find these sorts of books difficult to start. Once I had dedicated more time to reading and understanding it became much easier to get through. I liked that Malala included the history of Pakistan, I am surely not the only one to be ignorant of other countries. Pakistan is a young country, and embroiled in turmoil. Reading the take over of Swat, Malala’s home region, being taken over by the Taliban, and what it meant for all the people of Swat was heartbreaking in some places.

She includes her fathers work in setting up schools and wanting to educate people, his own education, and just how lucky she is to have a father not constrained by the mainstream views that are throughout Pakistan. In being lucky enough to have an education in the first place, she see the need for everyone to have an education, campaigning for women’s and children’s rights from a very young age, earning prizes and recognition [although not wanting the prizes and recognition… but wanting the change that would allow everyone to have that education].

Malala tells how she had come to the decision that she wanted to become a politician, to be the change that she wanted to be… if that makes sense? I think if more people were more like her the world be a much better place.

One thing that I didn’t expect was when she was talking about reading the “Twilight” novels, about how she loved the books and that her and her friends would play “Twilight” games. This really surprised me – and again, no doubt shows my ignorance – but I didn’t expect these books would be available in Pakistan. Maybe because I’m used to the idea of an anti-Western Tablianist – because that was when I remembered the country hitting the news.

I love Malala’s love of her home country, and her desire to return despite what happened to her. She also has a lot of faith – in herself and in Allah – and what her shooting has given her; global recognition that will ultimately help her cause.

If more people could be just a little more like this young woman the world would be a much better place, wouldn’t you agree?