Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club discussion

I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
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Archive - Award Winners > January - I am Malala - Autobiography Award

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message 1: by Savanes, Moderator (last edited Dec 28, 2013 03:45AM) (new)

Savanes | 2050 comments Mod
Goodreads Choice Award Winner 2013 - Memoirs and Autobiagraphy

The story:
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.

Please use spoiler tags whenever appropriate. We wouldn't want to spoil the book for all the others!!

Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments Since I check most of my books out of the library, I got a head start with this one. I am not sure that I would have read this book if it weren't for this group. I am so glad that I did read it.

There was so much of interest in this book. First, the book gives a good socio-political overview of the rise of the Taliban from the eyes of a young Pakistani girl. Here innocent idealism in the face of such an oppressive environment made her story very compelling.

I think there are a lot of cultural lessons to be taken from this book. Sometimes it is so easy to paint things in black/white, right/wrong, them vs. us. Malala sets out to give perspective on the historical and cultural perspective which has led to the current state of things in Swat.

Even if she did not draw the correlation, it is hard not to see the similarities to the rise of the Nazis in Germany to the rise of the Taliban in Swat.

The biggest take-away in the whole book is the hopeful attitude that one small person can make her voice heard and make a difference.

message 3: by Rida (last edited Dec 31, 2013 12:19AM) (new) - added it

Rida Sajid | 195 comments cant wait till jan 1. starting it now. This book is quite controversial in Pakistan so I am curious to read it.

message 4: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2050 comments Mod
Thanks Valerie for your review. I'm so glad you liked it. :)

Rida, I can't wait to know what you think!

Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments What did you think of it Vanessa? Or are you trying to remain neutral?

Angela M I read this book when it was first published and I just was so impressed with this young girl , her message, and what she does to further the cause of education for young girls around the world. The following is the review I wrote after I finished it. There are no spoilers.
I first heard of Malala on the news in October , 2012 when it was reported that a 15 year old Pakastani school girl was shot in the head by the Taliban while riding home on a school bus. Of course , I was appalled and saddened . Then as I saw more news coverage about her , I found out that she was making a miraculous recovery and that she had been targeted because she was a proponent of education for girls.
In July , 2013 , I saw a brief news clip of Malala giving a speech at the United Nations . After listening to the full speech on utube , I realized what a courageous , committed , amazing person she was. I immediately pre - ordered this memoir .
This book will break your heart and them make your spirit soar to know what this amazing young girl experienced and what she believes in and stands for . You will learn some about her country's history , her family . Milala is a hero , a role model and so much more . I recommend this highly . We take our books and learning for granted but when Malala had to leave her home for fear of the Taliban , she recites from the Kuran to protect her school books that she is unable to take with her . It's impossible not to be taken with this girl who loves books and learning so much ! If you don't read this book , I would suggest that you at least find her UN speech on utube to get a sense of who Milala is.

message 7: by Savanes, Moderator (new)

Savanes | 2050 comments Mod
Valerie wrote: "What did you think of it Vanessa? Or are you trying to remain neutral?"

In general, I try being as neutral as possible when I moderate a conversation. In that case however I'm being neutral because I haven't had time to start reading I am Malala. ooops! ;)

message 8: by Rida (new) - added it

Rida Sajid | 195 comments Vanessa wrote: "Thanks Valerie for your review. I'm so glad you liked it. :)

Rida, I can't wait to know what you think!"

I'll give my comments after completing 1st part of the book tonight. however I am finding some parts of this book beautiful while some arguments are totally wrong. The people who havent seen pakistan(not to mention sawaat) wont find any thing wrong in this book.

Sandy from Alaska Colón (sandycfromak) | 56 comments I finished the book and enjoyed reading it. However, I felt the story was too much about Malala's father.

message 10: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 24 comments Just started this book. I'm so looking forward to it, since I admire this girl so much. When I look back at what kind of girl I was at 15, I feel pretty inadequate.

When you hear about the things teenagers do these days, like the Steubenville boys, it is so refreshing and incredible to hear about a girl like Malala. Kudos to her parents for raising such an incredible human being!

Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I love the book, but I have to wonder if anyone felt (view spoiler)

Sandy from Alaska Colón (sandycfromak) | 56 comments Valerie wrote: "I love the book, but I have to wonder if anyone felt [spoilers removed]"

Valerie, I have to admit that I did have fleeting thoughts of that nature. (view spoiler)

Valerie (darthval) | 411 comments I agree with you, Sandy (view spoiler)

Cherene | 4 comments My eight month old has been asleep for 2 and a half hours - for the first time in a few months, actually - and instead of taking advantage of this blessed silence (unfortunately, my poor little lady has been waking up every 45 minutes maximum for the past couple months whether napping or sleeping for the night)I am going to start reading this book. Mostly because I'm a nerd.

Sorry about talking about my kid, it's a Mother thing. We think everyone cares. And if they don't, we tell them anyway.

message 15: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 24 comments Cherene wrote: "My eight month old has been asleep for 2 and a half hours - for the first time in a few months, actually - and instead of taking advantage of this blessed silence (unfortunately, my poor little lad..."

I don't ever apologize for being a mom! Most important thing! I hope you're catching up on your sleep!

Cherene | 4 comments So, I finished this... In about two days. I found myself interested in this book because of the cultural perspective as opposed to the political agenda. I understand that this isn't exactly what the author wants me to take from it, but still, I cannot help but be fascinated by her descriptions of culture and life both before and after her.

Strangely enough, I had read in some of the reviews that she painted horrible images of Pakistani or Muslim culture. One guy even went as far as to say she'd do anything for money. I disagree that it did, but it's interesting to note that some people it is way more advanced and educated than she claims. I wonder if this is because they don't want anymore negative light on their culture or if they see a different sort of system than Malala did.

Patty Warren | 4 comments Another book I took on my vacation but did not get a chance to read! Reading this month-such an inspiration!

Hilary Holmes | 7 comments Cherene wrote: "So, I finished this... In about two days. I found myself interested in this book because of the cultural perspective as opposed to the political agenda. I understand that this isn't exactly what th..."

I agree, I felt exactly this way. I did not notice the political agenda nearly as much as others have stated in various reviews that I have read. I also did not feel like she painted horrible images of the Muslim culture.

She did paint a horrible picture when it came to the violence within the country, but she made it very clear that this was not because of the Muslims or the Pakistani's, but because of the Taliban and their completely skewed interpretations of their religion.

If anything she made the culture seem lovely and the country beautiful. I actually have way more respect for the Muslim culture as there were so many customs that I did not understand before but now I do. Hopefully this country (and others around it) can find peace.

message 19: by Victor (new)

Victor Muthoka (hundredpercent) I've heard quite a bit about this one, from when the story first broke to the book release. I've not been really keen to pick it up till now. I look forward to it.

message 20: by Kara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kara Fitzjarrald | 1 comments I usually don't like biographies written by young adults because I feel like they haven't lived enough to have a story to tell. Malala's is worth reading though. She is a very bright young lady. I did question how much of this was her and how much was her father.

message 21: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (8mineamy) I read this recently on the recommendation of a colleague. I vaguely recall something about this from the media. Really enjoyed reading this, particularly because of the masses of media attention the Taliban / war on terror has received. It was interesting to hear a first hand account of someone living it. I liked that the story was mostly about everyday life rather than a graphic look into the violence that was taking place. I also really enjoyed learning a little about the Muslim way of life, religion & customs. I am a primary teacher and am always encouraging my students to consider different perspectives so it was nice to do so myself :)

Amber | 1 comments I do appreciate this book for its positive qualities. Like a few others, I enjoyed it mostly for its cultural and living history perspective. I agree with some of the other concerns about Malala's individual perspective . . .(view spoiler)

message 23: by Lea (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lea (leaspot) | 101 comments I thought Malala had a very important story to tell. It will be interesting to see what she herself does with herself in ten or twenty years - I hope that she still alive and living back in Pakistan. There were a lot of cultural things which made me surprised, but are interesting to learn. (i.e. Twilight is a favorite but Bend it Like Beckham is too racy.) :-)

message 24: by Conni (last edited Jan 22, 2014 07:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Conni I am so glad that I read this book. To have Malala's own words about her beloved country, beliefs, experienes both good and bad, gave me a perspective on the Muslim faith that I never thought I would have. Malala's courage is powerful and inspiring.

Emily Klein I just started this book and as a graduate student in education and current teacher I am excited to continue this book. There is so much culture which I really love, but it makes it a touch difficult to keep track of everything. I am also reading this while I'm reading Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 and I think it will be very interesting to get perspectives from two cultures that are fighting against the Taliban. This book would probably be a great read in a history or government class.

Stephanie (teff1979) | 69 comments I just finished this book today and I loved it. If it were not for this group I most likely would not have read it. This book made me realize how their culture truly is. I think it is great what she is doing.

Whitney | 13 comments I've been wanting to read this book for a while. Unfortunately, I'm still on the wait list at the library, so I won't have it read by the end of this month for the group discussion. I've enjoyed reading what everyone thought of the book. I'm even more excited to read it.

message 28: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4151 comments Mod
Whitney - The book discussion threads always stay open and don't get moved to the archive until a month after, so you're more than welcome to come along when you're ready.

There have been discussions about books months after the scheduled month in the past.

Whitney | 13 comments Awesome! Thanks for letting me know Lynn. Glad to hear I can still participate.

Emily Klein I just finished this book last night and I too enjoyed the cultural lessons as well as the view of the current world from Malala's point of view. I appreciated her separation of Pakistan from the Taliban and how she stood strong for her country, culture and religion although she recognizes some of the issues amongst them. I appreciate her humbleness about Pakistan and recognizes that there are always negative events and bad people, but that doesn't define the country nor should it. As an American I also very much appreciate her stand against the Taliban and terrorist who destroy peace around the world. I also appreciated(didn't like) however appreciated the ending about how she discussed hers and her mothers sadness about leaving Pakistan and everything they miss. It shows that although one person can be a huge influence and make changes, there is still work to be done and even hero's are humans that experience disappointments. I hope that she continues to stand for education for everyone and goes on to further her education. I don't want this to be the last time I hear from Malala.

Angela M Emily ,
I loved the book , too and agree with your thoughtful comments . I was disappointed that Malala did not win the Nobel Peace Prize !

Dianne Yes - finally finished this book! (it took a while to get from the library. On one hand, I really appreciated reading it. It felt so unique and inspirational to hear not only her story but also to get the perspective from a young female living in a Taliban-controlled environment. So many times, you get the news from an outside perspective so really interesting to hear what it felt like for her and her family.
On the other hand,though, as a book the writing wasn't very strong. Very understandable, but I felt you could really tell Malala's age. Several stories, such as her schoolmates and stealing, didn't seem to function in the larger story. (view spoiler). I will be very interested in hearing and reading what Malala has to say when you has more experience and a more mature voice.

Whitney | 13 comments I finally got the book from the library and got to read it. I liked that there was an effort to give some of the history of the area, because it helps me place all the events. I also had not realized how active she was before she got shot, giving speeches for education and against the Taliban.

I do think she was influenced by her father, but it was a cause she also felt passionate about. She wanted an education, and was willing to stand up for herself and others.

I really liked this book.

Laura I am looking forward to my copy coming in from the library!

Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) She is such an inspiration. What a strength of character she has!

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