Book Review: I Am Malala

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book #8 - I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
[image source: Goodreads]

What is there to say about this book other than 1. You should get your hands on a copy as soon as possible and 2. When will she write another one?

This is the incredible story of a girl named Malala who was shot by the Taliban for fearlessly standing up for her beliefs. Her courageous journey is as much heart-breaking as it is inspiring. The amount of violence that she has experienced in her mere sixteen years of life is more than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime, yet she continues to act and speak with the grace, patience, and determination of someone who has only heard of such evil.

Not only was her story inspiring, but it was also informative. It was amazing to me to read about events like 9/11, the transfer of power from President Bush to President Obama, and Bin Laden’s death from someone living in the Middle East under the rule of a seriously corrupt and virtually useless government. To hear about those events and how her country was affected, what role they played, and how they responded was astonishing. My eyes were opened to an entirely different world and way of life. I learned things about Arab culture that I never before understood.

I am so grateful for all of the work that Malala has done thus far. She is an immensely brave, inspiring, and influential young lady and I am confident that we will see big things from her in the future.

Summary (source)
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.

My Review
What I Loved
1. This book helped me to appreciate so many things about my life that I take for granted. I realized how incredibly lucky I am to have been born in the United States and to have so many basic freedoms that others do not. I don’t need a man to tell me what I can and cannot wear. I’m not required to have a male relative escort me everywhere I go in public.  I can speak about whatever I want, whenever I want, and I don’t have to worry about anyone targeting me for it. Malala grew up in a country where those basic rights for women did not exist. Instead she "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."

2. There was so much to learn! In high school, I took a World Religions class where we learned about Islam but I really didn’t come to understand all that much about the religion and culture behind it until I read this book. All of the history, politics, traditions, words, phrases, and customs were so new to me and I believe I now have a much greater understanding about what Islam is really all about.

3. I loved how wise Malala proves herself to be, even at such a young age. She truly is wise beyond her years. She writes: “I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want."

4. Her words are so immensely inspiring. There is no way you can’t sit back after reading this book and pretend like her story and her life hasn’t affected you in some way. She is bright, strong, intelligent, well-spoken, gentle, and stubborn all at the same time. Her determination to bring peace and education to the children of the world is steadfast and I sincerely believe that she is destined to become a historic leader.

What I Didn't Love
1. The story was a bit choppy at times. The personal, historical, and political accounts kind of all mixed together which made it a little hard to follow. I got the overall timeline but some of the stories were difficult to place in relation to the other events going on around them.

2. Maybe it was just because it was a different culture and the names were so foreign to me, but I pretty much gave up on trying to differentiate who was who about half way through the book. There were so many leaders and authorities and dictators and historical figures given, it was tough for me to keep track of everyone. I tried to keep using the timeline and glossary in the back of the book but it definitely slowed me down by having to keep flipping pages back and forth.

3. It’s amazing to me how many of the Pakistani people despise her and ridicule her for what she’s done. A young girl standing up for peace and education in my mind should be supported not condemned, especially when she has been attacked by extremists and has clearly done nothing wrong. And when those same groups are still out to kill her. This is not necessarily something I didn’t love about the book but it’s for sure something I don’t love about the reality of her situation.

5 out of 5 stars


  1. I really want to read this!! Thank you for the review!

    1. You really should! It's such a great book!