'I am Malala' is a 2013 autobiography by and of Malala Yousafzai, along with Christina Lamb. It is about the story of a 14-year old teenager who gets caught up living in the Taliban-inhibited Pakistan. The story progresses as she starts to speak out against this and starts facing dangers.
A girl who wants to study is not being stopped by the whole of society, but by a radicalized group of it called as the Taliban. As the fear echoes through the houses in Mingora, where Malala stays, the beautiful city of Swat, which Malala describes as beautiful and natural, becomes a warzone and a place nobody dreams of coming to. The liberty which she says once was present, is now not. Her book could be seen as a mean of protest to the terrorists, voice for the people passionate for education, consolation for spectators who think the entirety of the country consists of anarchists, and hope for a better future.
The book isn't solely about Malala. In fact, her portion of it is the least. It consists of her surroundings, her changing environments and most importantly, her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. It begins with explaining about her society, her culture, and the events occured prior to her nativity, like her father's childhood, or shift of power between various generals. She talks about the corruption in her country. Her views on every matter is very well asserted, in my opinion.
Malala talks mostly about her father in the book. Right from his childhood to adulthood; and his liberal thoughts and activism in social matters. It is only at the midst of the book that the story becomes solely Malala's. It is pretty evident she admires her father a lot.
The Pashtun culture is also explained detailedly. Pashtun is a group of people living in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Malala talks about the various aspects of the culture, including its good and bad parts. She also talks about her maternal and paternal homelands, and the village beauty. Though Malala says she was brought up in the city, her description of the villages and their natural beauty is pretty admirable.
Fear sets in the town as the Taliban, who until then were in the Afghanistan, started entering Pakistan. The liberty of the people are taken away from them. Men and women are made to follow their instructions, in everything from education to attire. Malala talks about the impact which this has brought not only on her, but also on everyone. A free state becomes a teritory which is circled around with military and militants alike.
American influence on Pakistan nationals is also discussed. Their intention of eradicating terrorism is taken in a negative way.
Malala apprices us of many tips along the story. She says that it is only when something is taken away that a person realizes its value. When the right to education was taken away from her, she understood the importance of it. This applies to everything, even in our daily life, in my opinion. Things which you may find for granted today can make you feel lost if they are suddenly taken away one day. Also, she says awards are like an bounty or loot. They were mere encouragement to her in her objective. So many times, people get money-minded and desire fame. We should learn to take them as an encouragement along with recognition.
What I liked about the story:
- Great storytelling- The book isn't just about Malala. It is about Swat, her father, her culture and her nation. The story wasn;t concentrated on any one topic for too long and I never felt it as boring though I was new into the field of autobiographies.
- Public issues raised- I liked that she not only included her views on public matters, but also other' views, such as her father's or her father's friend.
What I didn't like about the book:
- Not concentrated on the main subject- Too many cooks spoil the broth. And while this broth has only been spoiled a little bit(props to that, I would have totally missed the point!), it contributes to the confusion whether you are reading Malala's full story, or her adventurous part of the story. I mean, it's totally nice that you get to know the culture, the story of others, etc.; however, I would have liked to know more about Malala here. Not the adventurous Malala solely, but also parts of her family life, or the positive parts of the story, not just the ones talking about shootings and Taliban.
- This is a specific defect. In the chapter 'Praying to be Tall', Malala talks about the awards and recognitions she starts receiving. And at that time, the pace of storytelling becomes rapid, which was contrary to the slower pace followed earlier. I hope you understand what I mean. Passing of events should have been explained more slowly so that the transition couldn't have been not advanced.
'I am Malala' is a book I would recommend anyone to read. I was quite surprised when I found out many people younger than me don't know Malala Yousafzai. Back in 2012, when the shooting had occured, it was her matter that everyone had discussed at the time. Popular newspapers had articles on the topic in their front page.So, it is a good thing that more people learn about this amazing personality who is working for education for all children. You could also donate to her objective at malala.org (no, this is not sponsored, just wanted to help😂).
At the end, Malala says that she has not changed. She is still the girl who fights with her brothers. While whole of the nation remembers as 'The Girl who was Shot in the Head by the Taliban', she remembers her as the old Malala. And that shows her humility, which I quite appreciate.
This is a good inspirational autobiography that probably remind us of how lucky we are compared to many kids in the world who are devoid of education. The story was very captivating. And good luck to Malala for her future endeavour.