Summary: This one-of-a-kind autobiography gives us a glimpse into the life of Malala Yousafzai, a young girl living in Swat (Pakistan) where the scenery is peaceful but the politics are anything but. The people’s strong devotion to their religion restricts things such as women’s education, which brings about rebellion and dangerous times. Malala was taught by her father that she could do anything a boy could. Even as a violent religious group called the Taliban threatens her village, she continues to go to school as usual, speaking out in defiance about the injustice of women’s non-existing rights. She calls attention to herself; people all around the world are talking about her! But the Taliban also notices. One day a member of the Taliban comes aboard her school bus and shoots Malala and two other girls. The book not only tells her struggle to survive, but also informs the reader of the battle for women’s rights that Malala fought – and is still fighting – so bravely for.
Recommendation: I am Malala made me realize how lucky I am to be able to go to school. Sure, it can be boring and hard, but reading this novel made me re-think things like school that I took for granted. Because of the Taliban that controlled every aspect of Malala’s life, freedoms such as expression, clothing, and education were whisked away. Even though it sounds cheesy, I now value those freedoms more. I definitely recommend this novel to you mostly for that reason – it gives the reader a new view of the world and of life. Especially at the beginning of the book, Malala tells about her own life just as much as she explains the rebellion and the politics behind it. She includes every detail (how does she remember it all!), from the seemingly unimportant conversations with her family to the trip she took with her school to the park. These recollections get you to know her better as a person, so you are rooting for her even more as she attempts to recover from the attack. Yousafzai narrates in a way like she’s writing fiction, but the fact that her story really happened makes this book truly exceptional.
Favorite Passage: “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”