Diane's Reviews > I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
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it was amazing
bookshelves: daily-show, pakistan, education, inspirational, nonfiction, religion, women

Reading this book reminded me of how much I take for granted every day: Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The freedom to go to the store without needing a male escort. And the ability to get an education, regardless of gender.

"I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children."

Malala, who is now 16, is an outspoken advocate for girls to have the same right to go to school as boys. In her native Pakistan, she lost that ability when the Taliban took over: "I was 10 when the Taliban came to our valley ... It seemed to us that the Taliban arrived in the night just like vampires. They appeared in groups, armed with knives and Kalashnikovs ... They looked so dark and dirty and that my father's friend described them as 'people deprived of baths and barbers.'"

The Taliban started bombing schools and decreed that girls couldn't get an education. Malala's father was a school principal and encouraged her to speak out. She was only 15 at the time, but threats were made against her and her family. And in October 2012, when she was riding the school bus with her friends, a man with a gun climbed aboard the vehicle and shot Malala in the head.

Amazingly, Malala survived the bullet and was able to recover. She and her family currently live in England, but Malala writes about how much she misses her home country and wishes she could return to be with her friends. Her graciousness was such that she did not wish revenge on her attacker, and instead prays for peace.

"I thank Allah for the hardworking doctors, for my recovery and for sending us to this world where we may struggle for our survival. Some people choose good ways and some choose bad ways. One person's bullet hit me. It swelled my brain, stole my hearing and cut the nerve of my left face in the space of a second. And after that one second there were millions of people praying for my life and talented doctors who gave me my body back. I was a good girl. In my heart I had only the desire to help people."

Malala's story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. I admire her courage and her tenacity, and also hope that her country will one day find peace. "Why are we Muslims fighting with each other? ... We should focus on practical issues. We have so many people in our country who are illiterate, and many women have no education at all. We live in a place where schools are blown up. We have no reliable electricity supply. Not a single day passes without the killing of at least one Pakistani."

The book is lovingly written, and I also appreciated her stories about the history of Pakistan and her people, the Pashtuns. While reading the book I realized that I knew more about the history of other countries in the region, such as Afghanistan, Iran and India, than I did about Pakistan, and it was very informative. I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in women's rights, current events, history or inspirational memoirs.

"Today we all know education is our basic right. Not just in the West; Islam too has given us this right. Islam says every girl and every boy should go to school. In the Quran it is written, God wants us to have knowledge. He wants us to know why the sky is blue and about oceans and stars ... The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn't stop our minds from thinking."

Update October 2014:
I was thrilled to hear that Malala had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. I have recommended this book to numerous people in the past year, and am still amazed by her courage. Three cheers for Malala!
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Reading Progress

October 9, 2013 – Shelved
November 6, 2013 – Started Reading
November 7, 2013 –
page 13
3.98% ""I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children.""
November 9, 2013 –
page 67
20.49% "I read my books like Anna Karenina and the novels of Jane Austen and trusted in my father's words: 'Malala is free as a bird.' When I heard stories of the atrocities in Afghanistan I felt proud to be in Swat. 'Here a girl can go to school,' I used to say. But the Taliban were right around the corner and were Pashtuns like us. The valley was a sunny place and I couldn't see the clouds gathering behind the mountains."
November 9, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)

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message 1: by Ted (new) - added it

Ted Great review, Diane. Very nice selection of quotes. I do want to read this book.

Diane Thanks, Ted. It's a wonderful book. I hope you like it!

message 3: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Nice review, Diane. I've admired her story since I followed news of her recovery in the hospital, even wanted her to be the youngest Nobel Peace winner but that didn't happen.

message 4: by Brendon (new)

Brendon Schrodinger Nice review Diane. I'll probably read this in the near future.

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I am amazed by this girl's grace and courage. She is mature beyond her years.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I stand in awe at the courage and poise of this young hero of the human race. I am so glad you supported her by reading and reviewing her book.

message 7: by Steve (new)

Steve That's some potent stuff there, Diane! Great job sharing it with us. What a story!

message 8: by Margitte (last edited Nov 17, 2013 02:09AM) (new)

Margitte She is a remarkable girl. Her story inspires so many thousands of people around the world. I am so glad that she refused to remain silent. She needs the support of the millions of women whom she has given a voice. I hope she will succeed.

message 9: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary March I think there are some people who we need to know more about, and Malala is one of those people. You have certainly confirmed for me that I need to read this book very soon.

message 10: by Keyshia (new) - added it

Keyshia Marshall this book actually reminds me of freedom of speech that's what we are learning in our class. but i like urs bettter.

Bitrus Galadima Diane, this is excellent review.

Shekari Jonah Diane, that is a excellent review. i hope to read the book in near future.

Bilal Anis I am muslim, and the uniderstanding of Islam by Taliban, Iran, and other dictatorships are plane stupidity.

We as moderate muslims believe that those retards are the main enemy of Islam.. we are fighting ignorance and spreading the real message of islam whic is Education.. love.. mercy.. innovation..

The first word that Quran started with was "READ".. so reading and education are obligatory in Islam..

Maria Give Diane for this review! starting to book today.

Andaleeb Touching review Diane . You are so right about taking things for granted . Belonging to the same country I was ashamed of some of the allegations that were made following her shooting , even more so after the media storm that was unleashed after her book came out.Everybody had an opinion about it without even having read it . That is the level of confusion that takes hold of a society held hostage to a bunch of ritual obsessed butchers where the voice of reason gets shot in the head !

message 16: by Faty (new)

Faty Ahm I great story that shows Good and evil's everyday battle.... A kind heart versus a hateful heart... An educated mind versus an ignorant mind... A strong person versus a bully human .... A person with a conscience versus a human with animal instincts....A pure Islamic soul versus a tyrant fanatic one.

Shubhangi Asthana nicely written review Diane..you just put it out so nicely. Banning the book is such a proof of their cowardice. But she is so strong now. The Pakistan's youth National award is also called as malala's award.

message 18: by Mahad (new) - added it

Mahad Guleid very interesting and Amazing Diane, thanks for the explanation!

Helen i want to read this book

message 20: by Cristina (new)

Cristina Latta Seventeen-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize..

message 21: by Yara (new) - added it

Yara Jaber Greatest review ever, I am going to read it

message 22: by Roshan (new)

Roshan I love your review. Not much of a spoiler but just insights. Tnx to you, i m definitely reading the book

Malaikah Niyazi Amazing and wonderful review :)

Armadillo I love your review. I really like your ending, and I totally agree with you.

Phillip Øsbourne, The Third GREAT review Diane! It sounds like you really know the book.

message 26: by Ankita (new) - added it

Ankita Vatrai Desperately want to read this book :)
thank u so much dear for your beautiful review

message 27: by Mohamed (new) - added it

Mohamed Aboobakru I want read this book. After that I can comment.

Modesta Piedra I live this book too

Carmen Great review. I thought this book was good, as well.

message 30: by Cecily (last edited Feb 23, 2016 01:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cecily Yes, "heartbreaking and inspiring", and reminds one how lucky one is. Such an important point.

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