Martha's Reviews > I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
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I went into this book with quite high expectations, having seen a few interviews with Malala and also having seen the film/documentary that was partly based on this book. It's possible that this caused an issue because I knew all the highlights, so I found the rest of it a little slow, and not what I'd anticipated.

Firstly, if this was a rating just about Malala and the key points of her life, it would clearly be five stars. Here is a girl who shows absolute fearlessness in the face of terrorism and oppression, unwavering commitment to education as a basic human right and who rights very eloquently - before we even consider her young age. Add to that her father being a feminist in a culture that does not encourage it, as well as her mother's support despite fearing the danger it presented to her child.

What pulled the rating down for me was the emphasis on the history and politics of Pakistan. It was certainly interesting, and long overdue to be reading something other than media sensation about terrorism and the Taliban we tend to get in the West. When you have a teenager telling you how much she wants to go home, despite having been shot in the head for standing up to an extremist organisation over her basic right to get an education, it forces the reader to take stock about what we're told about this region. The same applies to her religion - here is an account of what it's like for everyday Muslims to live under the terror of the Taliban, claiming to enforce rules in their religion which simply do not exist. Here is yet more evidence against Islamophobia, and the ugly misrepresentation of an otherwise peaceful religion.

However, I think I expected to read more about her beliefs in education and her work to promote that around the world, because she has become one of many feminist icons for me, and that's what has drawn me to her. I appreciate that she needed to give background in order to illustrate how she came to the moment of being shot, but I hadn't expected a history book. I found it quite challenging in places as I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the names and the different tribes, so I wasn't always completely clear what was being talked about. Perhaps if I'd realised that before reading it, I might have been less bothered by it, and so able to just appreciate it.

Overall, it is an amazing story and Malala is worthy of huge amounts of respect and admiration, but as a memoir, it is not an easy read.
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Reading Progress

May 26, 2015 – Shelved
May 26, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 26, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
May 10, 2016 – Started Reading
May 10, 2016 –
page 23
May 11, 2016 –
page 49
May 11, 2016 –
page 49
May 12, 2016 –
page 102
May 13, 2016 –
page 140
May 14, 2016 –
page 281
May 14, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: feminism
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: non-fiction
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: non-fiction-memoirs
May 16, 2016 – Shelved as: non-fiction-politics
July 17, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-yorwoc
May 7, 2017 – Shelved as: read-women-world
October 19, 2018 – Shelved as: read-the-world

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Marina (Sonnenbarke) Thanks for your review, Martha. I'm glad to be warned there's a lot of history and politics in the book, I hadn't realized that, either. So now I know what to expect, which I think is always good when approaching a book - especially, perhaps, a non-fiction one.

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