“I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

In the first quarter of this novel, the main protagonist, Malala, gives an introduction about her background in her Swat community, and how the women in the community are oppressed. The author does an excellent job in connecting to the diverse audience so that the reader can perceive this novel beyond the barrier of differences in culture and society that separates regions of the world. But all the time and detail spent explaining these cultural differences come at a cost: boredom.

The beginning seems excessively slow, and there is not much analytical depth that could have been explained at possible moments, such as, “Children in the refugee camps were even given school textbooks produced by an American university which taught basic arithmetic through fighting. They have examples like ‘If out of 10 Russian infidels, 5 are killed by one Muslim, 5 would be left'” (Yousafzai 33). In this section of the novel, the author misses an opportunity to rant about influences and biased education to further explain the hostility between certain countries. Maybe it is the author’s choice for the reader to interpret that meaning upon reading that quote, but that is what makes this book less powerful than acclaimed titles such as “Crime and Punishment”. By adding in deeper analytical content, the reader is able to understand more clearly what the author is trying to inform him, and commentary is exactly what makes novels so influential. “I am Malala” seems to me just an assortment of facts and details compiled together to convey a meaning of how “minorities have it rough” that can be interpreted differently, but that does not seem right for this novel’s potential.

To demonstrate my point on the importance of commentary, I’ll use religion as an example:

In Churches, there is a Pastor that teaches other Christians on what is deemed the morally correct lifestyle. The Pastor uses the Bible as a source of credibility to appear legitimate in his teachings. Everyone perceives a concrete detail in a variety of ways, and what that Pastor does is teach the Christians not what the Bible is about, but his interpretation on what the Bible is about. The Christians therefore learn the PASTOR’s way of life, not the Bible.

Maybe Yousafzai is to set up her novel as an assortment of concrete details to be interpreted by people however they want, and to be used as a credible source. Maybe Yousafzai is going to include a whole barrage of commentary nearing the end, although inconveniencing the reader for having to turn back some pages and make sense of the concrete detail. Maybe I should start on my Artistic Interpretation project.

With love, care, and $wag,

                                                          Jinghui Lou



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26 responses to ““I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

  1. ashhuque

    PART I
    “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, is the autobiography of Malala, a young girl who lived in a conservative part of Pakistan called Swat. Malala publicly spoke out against the oppression of women and, more prominently, the right to education, inadvertently attacking the Taliban. Malala’s story tells her experiences of growing up as a girl with an optimistic mind in an oppressed society.

    The prologue to the “I Am Malala” begins with the story of when she got shot by the Taliban for speaking out. Though the story began with bang, the part following the prologue seemed a little slow but was crucial to the story. Malala needed to explain the cultural differences of her world from the Western World. An example of this difference is the oppression women face in Swat. “We’d [women] be expected to cook and serve our brothers and fathers. While boys and men could roam freely about town, my mother and I could not go out without a male relative to accompany us, even if it was a five-year-old boy! This was the tradition. (Yousadzai 26)” Malala needed to make these cultural differences clear to explain to the reader why women oppression and the right to education is such a big issue. Even through this part seems slow, I believe that it contributed a lot to Malala’s message and the story of the novel.

    I disagree with Jing-hui that, as he says, “I Am Malala” is “just an assortment of facts and details compiled together to convey a meaning of how “minorities have it rough.”” Malala is using her own experiences to explain her message, however one must understand the history behind the traditions and Taliban to understand why she lived the way she did. For example, Malala explains the history behind women oppression in her society. “Under Zia’s regime life for women in Pakistan became much more restricted…General Zia brought in Islamic laws which reduced a woman’s evidence in court to count for only half that of a man’s. Soon our prisons were full of cases like that of a thirteen-year-old girl who was raped and became pregnant and was then sent to prison for adultery because she couldn’t produce four male witnesses to prove it was a crime. (Yousadzai 31)” Zia instilled the belief that men controlled women into the culture which Malala later connects to her friend, Moniba. Moniba says “I have four brothers, and if I do even the slightest thing wrong they can stop me going to school. (Yousadzai 77)” The connection between Malala’s factual story and her personal experience aren’t right after each other, but it is because Malala has provided the historical information of women oppression that one has a more deeper understanding into why Moniba behaves the way she does. I did not read the story as just “an assortment of facts and details” but more as Malala giving the readers (who are westerners) information for them to understand why their lifestyle and culture became the way it is today and why it is so much different from our own.

    Also, Malala is in no way a minority, so I don’t believe the meaning is that “minorities have it rough.” Women oppression is such an important issue because, as Malala is pointing out, there are thousands of women who live in fear and ignorance, and in a lot of cases, both physical and mental abuse. One of the many messages Malala is trying to convey is that the issue of women oppression is in no way a small issue.

    However, I have to wonder if it is because I have experienced a similar cultural first hand and, because of my own heritage, have studied women oppression, that I came to these different conclusions than Jing-hui.

    Even though I have only read the first fourth of “I Am Malala” I can definitely see a message. Malala is trying to show what women oppression is (as most Westerners have neither experienced or truly understand what it means) and why this is an issue. Although the first part of the novel puts a lot of emphasis on women oppression, I can see that the author, Malala, is obviously going to connect the right to education to women oppression. Ending women oppression is an ambitious goal, but educating the public is the first step to ending it. If a proper education was given to women, they may be able to realize that there is a life outside of the oppressed lifestyle which they are raised to believe in, ending the cycle of oppression.

    A more broader theme may be optimism. Malala has a very optimistic view of the future. She believes in a world where she has the right to speak out without getting shot, a world where women are free and education is available to everyone. “I am Malala” has a very optimistic tone which made me realize that the novel is Malala’s way of reaching out for the help needed to end oppression and ignorance.

    “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai is, so far, a great autobiography! The novel isn’t about Malala’s life but more about her experiences of the social issues in the world. Malala uses her autobiography to help inform the public about women oppression and ignorance instead of just simply writing her story about herself. I admire Malala as she had the courage to speak out against oppression and ignorance by the time she was ten. Only five years later, Malala had gained enough of an influence to be seen as a threat to the Taliban and shot in the head. Even after such a traumatic event, Malala still continues to fight women oppression and the deprivation of education. This novel explains complex issues, such as the history of Pakistan or the traditions of Swat, in an easy way to understand. I have high hopes for the book!

  2. Well Jinghui, I don’t really believe that the time Malala has spent in the first part of the book explaining the culture of her people to be slow. The way the book was written, Malala couldn’t have afforded to not write about the history of the Pashtun. I think the culture is very crucial to the themes she tries to show throughout the novel, with history and personal stories, much like how Alyssa had stated it. If she didn’t spend time explaining the social expectations in her village, the reader would have been lost, so the “boring” part is in fact essential for the novel.

    Also, I think you misread Malala’s character when you stated that she had “missed an opportunity to rant about influences and biased education to further explain the hostility of the countries”. It’s pretty evident so far that Malala isn’t one to rant. The principles she was raised on are more peaceful, and she isn’t trying to prove that these are bad countries. She is trying to prove that the countries have to be fixed. Malala shows the corruption of the countries with solid facts and real stories. If she had put in more commentary and “ranted” on about the problems, the book wouldn’t have as much of an impact. The extra commentary would have muddled up the meaning and in a way make the book less credible. Instead of trying to persuade the reader, she shows the reader the truth and allows him to form his own opinions on the subject. The fact that Malala does this shows her honesty and modesty and thus more makes the novel more substantial. Also keep in mind that this is an autobiography, it’s not a fiction book like “Crime and Punishment”. Books like “Crime and Punishment” purposefully use commentary to form and develop themes. Malala is trying to tell her life story and tries to show the importance of her themes, that being universal education and woman equality, through the real world, not through commentary.
    In regards to Alyssa’s post:

    When I first started to read the book, I did see both themes of women equality and education, however, I did not connect them in the way that you did. But, when I start to think about it, educating the public to end prejudices does makes sense. But while this is a good strategy, it might still not work. Nowadays gay equality is a big issue in the United States, and while many people are educated, they still stick to their old traditions. So, sadly for Malala, the same might be true in other places around the world when it comes to woman equality. People might be educated, but sometimes traditions halt people from thinking progressively and mentally hold them back. Of course, when regarding universal education, Malala might also have the same mindset as Confucius, where he believes that education is an amazing gift. Malala might know that her plan to educate everyone might still not free women oppression in countries such as Pakistan, but still thinks that everyone deserves an education. I don’t think that optimism is one of the themes she purposefully conveys in her book. I think that’s just the way she was raised and her optimism shines out through her voice. But I do not think it’s a major theme, but we will have to keep on reading to find out.
    What I find interesting in the autobiography is the differences and the similarities of Pashtun and U.S. culture. Malala spends a lot of the first part of the novel explaining the traditions of her village, and while she was elaborating on the traditions, I couldn’t help but think, we do something similar in Western culture. Malala may have purposefully written the book in this way to show that everyone is human. The similarities seen between the two cultures help formulate Malala’s ideas about ending prejudices because everyone is human. For instance, one of the similarities I’ve seen is in the quote, “Our favorite game was ‘weddings’. We would get into two groups, each supposed to be a family, then each family would have to betroth a girl so we could perform a marriage ceremony” (I Am Malala 64). In the United States, little kids usually like to play grown ups as well, but instead of a marriage ceremony , they reenact daily life as adults. I thought it was interesting how kids that grew up in different cultures still play a game where they mock adults. There is also the quote when Malala talks about urban legends, ” To make us wash, our aunts told stories about a scary woman called Shashaka, who would come after you wither her muddy hands and stinking breath if you didn’t take a bath or wash your hair, and turn you into a dirty woman with hair like rats’ tails filled with insects” ( I Am Malala 67). Don’t adults in the United States also tell fake stories to convince children to do something, such as “Little Red Riding Hood”? Indeed, some traditions of the Pashtun are analogous to Western traditions.
    So far, I have been enticed by Malala’s story. What I personally find remarkable about her is that she almost died for something she believed in, but continues to fight for it. Her determination to make the world a better place is truly inspiring. “I Am Malala” uses both history and personal stories to show the corruption seen from an optimistic point of view. By laying doing the facts and explaining how the history had effected her, Malala lets the reader formulate his own thoughts on the issues she mentions. If a quarter of the people on earth are like Malala, this world would be an infinitely better place.

    • ashhuque

      In regards to the part of the post about education in “I Am Malala:”
      I can definitely see the point you are trying to make 🙂
      Education won’t fix the issue of women oppression and in a cultural where tradition is EXTREMELY important, just educating people won’t solve everything. I liked your connection to Confucius ideals and the simple universal education as a right.

      In regards to the cultural connection between Pashtun and the U.S. of “I Am Malala:”
      I found this part of your post REALLY interesting. I saw a lot more differences than similarities and, while reading the novel, I focused more on the differences and connected that to her message. Your view of the similarities made me look at that section of the book through a new lens.

      Thanks Steve 😀

      • Your welcome Alyssa. I appreciate your acknowledgement of my amazing post. Anyway, Your post helped me see that the reader’s personal experiences can affect their thought process. It was pretty evident when you wrote “However, I have to wonder if it is because I have experienced a similar cultural first hand and, because of my own heritage, have studied women oppression, that I came to these different conclusions than Jing-hui” (Alyssa’s Post, Paragraph 5). I also strongly agree with you when you wrote that Malala isn’t a minority. Woman equality is huge, and shouldn’t be accounted for as a minority.
        Thank you Alyssa.

      • *You’re. My bad, I was focused on content.

      • JinghuiYoloLou

        It’s okay Steve I love you.

      • I’m sorry Jinghui. Please forgive us

  3. JinghuiYoloLou

    You’re*, as in, You’re embarrassing the B5 Honors English Graduating Class of ’17. Also why do I appear to be the “scapegoat” of this entire blog post? All right, I guess I do have to agree with both of you that there does have to be some sort of lead-in that connects the reader so that he is able to understand the topic more closely. After all, the Westerners are less knowledgeable about inequalities that happen outside of their own country, so this explanation is needed. Like I said, these explanations for cultural differences at the start may be necessary, in explaining women inequalities, it is recommended, although it will be tedious and slightly confusing to have to adapt to these differences.

    As I am a Master Debater, I will have to oppose Ashlynn’s argument as to education not being as important to tradition. Education can play a role, in which like Fazlullah the radio gimp mentioned in Part 2 of the book, he takes advantage of the uneducated and illiterate masses of people for his own benefit. At first, he appears helpful in his teachings, but later makes perverse of the Quran and spreads his own influence of what a religious lifestyle will be: Abstinence from bazaar shopping for women, television, as well as songs and radio unapproved for religious use. With education, one has more intelligence, and therefore more influence. By being literate and actually able to read the Quran, people will be able to learn the religious text for what it is written instead of relying on others’ interpretations.

    This post is probably not going to make me any new friends, but I digress.

    All in all, this will not count as my 2nd blog post. I have a barrage ton left to say, albeit this may count as half of it.

    Love, Care, $wag,
    Jinghui Lou

    • ashhuque

      Jing-hui, sorry if we made you feel attacked (I promise you are not a scapegoat). Steve and I are just discussing. Just to clarify, the point of this blog is not to argue but to discuss. I realize that we are all doing more than the required work and I actually think its cool that we are having this discussion. (I hope it’s okay Mrs. Huss)

      However, to address my reply to Steve, I should clarify that I did not say that education is not as important as tradition.

      I understand Malala’s cultural as it is extremely similar to Bangladeshi culture (Bangladesh, my heritage, used to be a part of Pakistan so there are a LOT of cultural similarities). In Malala’s cultural, tradition is EXTREMELY important to one’s reputation, family, God and self. People often hold traditions above everything else in Malala’s culture. An example of this that Malala gives is Seema, a 15 year old girl who flirted a little with a boy.
      “In our society for a girl to flirt with any man brings shame on the family, though it’s all right for the man. We were told she [Seema] had committed suicide, but we later discovered her own family had poisoned her. (Yousafsai 66-67)”
      In this example, Seema’s family had put the value of having a traditional, conservative daughter over their own daughter’s life. What I was trying to say is that Malala’s culture HIGHLY values tradition to a seemingly extreme point. For Seema, even just educating her family wouldn’t have changed their personal beliefs that Seema was a shame to the family. What I was pointing out is that simply educating people won’t eradicate the issue of women oppression as it is a belief that has been instilled in the core of the culture. I hope this clarified my point. 🙂

      • JinghuiYoloLou

        *sniff sniff*
        Yeah I see what you’re trying to say now, thanks for elucidating upon this nebulous concept, as well as justifying your means to promote beneficial feelings among us instead of speaking in a condescending manner.
        However, words will forever pierce my heart, I am bleeding at the moment.
        I think I shall write a poem to discuss my feelings. I await your response when I am finished.

  4. morganlloyd99

    Sorry I couldn’t reply sooner. I’ve been on vacation.

    A lot of this discussion seems to be about how the author uses the beginning of the book to paint a picture of life in her home Swat valley. I, for one, found this interesting (I may be in the minority here). I especially liked how the author would interweave stories from her own life, and stories from her parents’ life, with historical details about the region. Understanding the political climate of the region, and daily life, helps put into context the events of this book. Almost always we see events in this region from an American point of view, applying our own cultural values, and it is a refreshing change to see these events from the perspective of another.

    As different as our cultures are, there are some similarities, something I didn’t really think about until I saw Steve’s post. I think that describing the daily life in the Swat valley shows that the Pashtun are not so different from the Americans. For example, speaking of a speaking contest where she came in second place, Malala says, “I was used to coming top of my class. But I realized that even if you win three or four times, the next victory will not necessarily be yours without trying – and that sometimes it’s better to tell your own story” (Yousafzai 79). Something that all of us learn (hopefully) is to lose with grace, and not sacrifice everything to come out on top. By relating her learning of this lesson, and many other universal truths, Malala gives us the power to relate to her and the people of the Swat valley.

    The analytical depth of the novel, or lack thereof, does not seem like a problem to me. I agree that this book is not “Crime and Punishment”, which has a whole Wikipedia section for its symbolism, but it’s not supposed to be. As Steve has said, the two books are trying to achieve different purposes. I Am Malala is intended to call attention to an injustice, and I believe that commentary here would make the text unwieldy and slightly insulting. A rant against the injustice of the education system where Jinghui mentioned would cheapen the anecdote. The story has more power when Malala states it frankly, showing the ridiculousness of the education system. That supports Malala’s message more than any commentary could. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that commentary is not always needed to support a thesis; sometimes powerful concrete details stand on their own.

    As far as the purpose of this book, I think Malala is trying to educate us about an injustice, but also call us to action. The injustice dealt to Pakistani women is not an issue that was largely well known before this book, yet is a humanitarian crisis like any other. I personally have been enthralled by the riveting tale of Malala, a girl whose single-minded focus and determination never wavered, even after an attack almost took her life. For me, this book has so far achieved its purpose.

    – Morgan

  5. Let me start off round two of discussion for the book I Am Malala by stating that the second quarter of the book made me cry a little bit. Prior to reading this bit, I was aware of the issues in Pakistan and the Taliban, but I couldn’t fathom how extreme the problem was until I read this part. What I find interesting about Malala’s book is how she is able to take a legitimate problem and bring it to live, because as Americans we are aware of but don’t really understand the necessity of fixing certain problems. For instance, one of the first chapters of the section is titled “The Mufti Who Tried to Close Our School”, and in this chapter Malala describes the struggles of keeping a school afloat in an extremist Muslim culture. An Islamic scholar called a mufti tries to close down schools, specifically female or coed schools in this section and claims that he is doing it in the name of Islam. But Malala brings up a very good point when she states that “I am proud of that our country was created as the word’s first Muslim homeland, but we still don’t agree on what this means” (I am Malala 91). Jinghui said in his first post something that I realized can apply to this particular section of the book, where Jinghui said “In Churches, there is a Pastor that teaches other Christians on what is deemed the morally correct lifestyle. The Pastor uses the Bible as a source of credibility to appear legitimate in his teachings.”(This Blog). In Malala’s case, the mufti is the pastor, and tries to teach people the correct way of living with his own interpretation. People don’t think for themselves and just blindly follow someone who acts like their interpretation is right. The system is corrupt if people don’t think for themselves, which is why they need to keep the schools open, to educate people. I believe that Alyssa had said something about keeping the public ignorant so they won’t fight oppression in one of her first blog posts, and I think that is the simple truth of the actions of the Mufti. The struggle for education is shown in this part of the book, and it’s frightening to see what is at stake if one doesn’t have any education.

    i found Malala’s voice in the story as someone who is calm,innocent, and forgiving. She was describing the militant leaders in the country and mentioned that “A few months later came the first attack on Pakistan by a US drone” (100). She doesn’t describe Americans as evil, or condemn us Americans for doing something so malevolent towards her own people. In the passage, she simply states the facts of what happened. Later in the book, Malala talks about the United States in a more positive way (I cannot find the quote now), which I think shows her forgiving quality. As I mentioned early, I am glad for this lack of commentary, because not only does her forgiving voice keep me asleep at night, but it doesn’t muddle up the story. While I’m on the subject, I would like to point out the corruption seen when Malala’s father comes home one night and says “‘I have a school, but I am neither a khan nor a political leader. I have no platform,’ he said. ‘I am only one small man'” (101). I think this idea of a man who has accomplished so much (building his own school even though in his situation it was almost impossible), he still doesn’t have a lot to say in government. I get the sense that only corrupt people actually have a chance to change the country, because the corrupt people are politicians. Many people who are pure and smart can change the country so it’s not some type of Taliban infested country, but they aren’t politicians, so they cannot do anything. What I’m wondering is “What comes first, the corruption or the politician?”. Please comment on what you guys think.

    Alright, I have a lot more to say, but I’m afraid that I will take up all of your ideas. But no worries! I’ll try to comment on your posts if I have time, because I’m actually interesting in this type of conversation: politics, current events, ect… But so far, I really like I Am Malala because she brings a new perspective to a story we Americans are used to hearing, as Morgan mentioned. I cannot wait to read part three.

  6. JinghuiYoloLou

    As a continuation of my previous post in which I stated would count as half of my 2nd post, I choose to cash out now, and write out the second half of that 2nd post right here.

    I would like to vent for a moment about the overdone topic which this fantastic book happens to be connected with, and then praise the main character for some positive qualities that define her from all the other teenage “rebels” that dominate our literature now.

    It seems to be that the only subject directed for teenagers is about rebellion, and the market is f**king overcrowded with novels of this subject. At this point, even mentioning a teenager standing up against an oppressive government is cancerous, and the authors who continue to pump out a series of three books about this deserve to be crucified and castrated, not necessarily in that order. I would accuse those authors of being corporate lapdogs under a certain publication company, using the tried and true template for the unmentionable subject to make a quick buck. I do not find any creativity in pursuing an already saturated subject, and believe that there are many other subjects that authors can write about and still appeal to their target market of teenagers.

    After eating a Snickers Bar, I feel more serene and I will now praise Malala’s open perception to stand out from all the other teenage rebels. I appreciate Malala’s personality for being selfless and desiring an equal quality of life for her community, yet also attempting to see life through the eyes of her aggressors, to try to become omniscient before judging or criticizing anyone. This is demonstrated when Malala contemplates about why the Taliban left behind so much destruction, “Manual workers made a great contribution to our society but received no recognition, and this is the reason so many of them joined the Taliban – to finally achieve status and power” (Yousafzai 148). Here, Malala refuses to believe that the Taliban would commit evil without a cause, that they have a motive for their actions, and that they just want to be understood for their struggles in society. Although throughout the book Malala disagrees with the Taliban’s choice of outlet for being neglected, she does not view them or the world in a direct evil/good lens, but rather sympathizes with the Taliban for following human nature in gaining power. For this, I really respect Malala’s character for being open minded and forgiving, as this will influence possible better qualities of life and leadership in her community for future generations.

    I have touched base upon the Taliban gaining power as a means for the repressed to vent their pent up anger upon the people through means of control, essentially becoming the only government available, albeit corrupt. To answer Steve’s question about whether the politician or corruption comes first, I have past historical examples for the politician coming first, but also a theoretical idea based upon human nature for corruption coming first. Starting with the politician side, I have just talked about the manual worker joining the Taliban because he feels neglected in his community. Whereas, if he was not neglected and had a voice people listened to, like a politician, he would have no reason to become corrupt. Also take for example, Mao Zedong: after the cultural revolution to get him in power, he was not yet corrupt and wanted equality for all so the people of China can live a sustainable life. However, as part of the Communist Party watching over everybody, he could not help but to turn his party into an elitist group with exclusive privileges the majority peasants could not. But this abuse and hypocritical action followed after he became a politician.

    My theoretical idea for corruption coming first is this – in a socialist economy where all the classes become equal, there are a few who cannot help but want to rise above the mass common people, it is in human nature to want to compete against others and become the ultimate champion. In this type of socialist society, those revolutionaries who want to rise above all others are at first corrupted by greed. Later, they gain power to fuel that greed by declaring themselves as overseers of the socialist society, while forming their own group of overseers. Eventually, like a college sorority or fraternity group that reserve themselves increased popularity, the overseer group will gradually reserve themselves more privileges over others, forming a higher class than the base socialist class. Here, the initial intention is for power, and that greed adds to the corruptness of that individual, in which he pursues it by seeking a position in authority, becoming a “politician”.

    Whew, I wrote a barrage ton of analytical commentary upon the book. This shall count as part of the 3rd blog post, no doubt. Be sure to pursue a liberal arts degree later on in life – guaranteed high income. I wish.

    Sincerely yours, with love, care, and $wag,
    Jinghui Lou.

  7. morganlloyd99

    After reading the second part of this book, there was only one thing that I could think. What the hell just happened? The second quarter of this book deals with the slow decline of the Swat valley, until it is controlled by the vise-like grip of the Taliban. Of course, the fact that the valley was under siege from the Taliban was a foregone conclusion; after all, the book starts in medias res telling us how Malala was shot by one of the Taliban. But the tale of daily life under the Taliban regime, the horrors and brutality, the helplessness felt by those imprisoned, made for a riveting and much needed glimpse into the conflict we Westerners have heard so much about.

    As Steve said, we here in the U.S. don’t understand what the problems are in Pakistan, what is going on over there. But there is definitely something going on over there that demands our attention. For example, an Islamic scholar, or mufti tries to close Malala’s school down. Luckily he is prevented from doing so, but the episode reminded me of something Jinghui said earlier, about how a pastor can interpret the Bible in multiple ways. And sure enough, Jinghui’s words turned out to be prophetic, as a “pastor”, or mullah, of the Taliban slowly starts to sway the hearts and minds of the Swat people. As Malala says, “Mullahs often misinterpret the Quran and Hadith when they teach them in our country, as few people understand the original Arabic. Fazlullah exploited that ignorance” (113). The leader of the Swat Taliban, Fazlullah, started off his takeover slowly, broadcasting on the radio more moderate ideas at first then moving to fundamentalist ideas. It was not long before the Taliban were in control of the valley. A lack of education was the problem here, since the ignorance of the people left them vulnerable to the Taliban. One woman learned too late the true face of the Taliban, as depicted here, “My father told me about a woman who had donated generously to the Taliban while her husband was working abroad… One night there was a small explosion in their village and the wife cried. “Don’t cry,” said her husband. “That is the sound of your earrings and nose studs. Now listen to the sound of your lockets and bangles.’” (149). The reason that the Taliban had a foothold in Pakistan is a lack of education amongst the people and amongst the women. The Taliban worked against education because they knew it was a potent weapon to be used against them.

    I do appreciate the unbiased perspective put forth by Malala, as commented on by my compatriots. Though she does not attempt to bowdlerize or rationalize the Taliban’s actions, she does not describe them with especial malice. As a matter of fact, comparisons of the Taliban to the army are commonplace. In the world of the Swat Valley, it seems almost everyone has a hand in the corruption and dark dealings. At times it seems only Malala and her father, Ziauddin, stand against the ideas. Threats are commonplace, and dissenters are murdered. The suspense surrounding the novel is not even dispelled by the fact that we know how it ends; we know Malala is shot. As a matter of fact, it heightens it. We ask ourselves, when? When will the breaking point be reached? I intend to keep reading to find out.
    Peace, love, and skydiving,

  8. ashhuque

    Part II of “I Am Malala” was written fabulously as I am pretty sure everyone has said before me. Malala is publicly known for her belief of education for everyone, and you can clearly see that in this section of the book. I have to applaud Malala as she was able to explain the extremely complex situation of the Taliban in a way that was understandable. After reading everyone’s blog post I can see that I wasn’t the only one who felt that us, Americans, were kind of ignoring what was happening. Especially after reading Jing-hui’s post, I came to my own realization. Jing-hui talks about how our media consists of nothing but rebellious, romantic teenagers. None of us truly realize what is going outside of the media that is handed to us. This reminds me of the Hunger Games, where the people living in the Capitol ignore the true horror of the the Hunger Games and only focus on the star-cross lovers. I feel that, generally, we ignore the true horrors of what is happening outside the US and focus on petty things like clothes, celebrities, etc.

    As Morgan and Steve have both said, Malala gives a very unbiased perspective which makes the “I Am Malala” that much better. Throughout the book, Malala has in no way imposed any bias against the Taliban or Americans. She simply states the FACTS of what she observes around her. An example of this is when Malala is describing how the Taliban has changed the country. She states “His (Fazlullah’s) men stopped health workers giving polio drops, saying the vaccinations were an American plot to make Muslim women infertile so that the people of Swat would die out. (Malala Yousafzai 120)” Malala shows how Fazlullah, the militant leader, is biased against Americans but in no way states her own personal beliefs about Americans afterwards. I am astonished that someone who is only two years older than I am, and believes SO strongly in what she stands for, can give such an unbiased perspective of the entirety of everything that is happening.

    I am also truly impressed by how Malala explained why she believes in education for all. I have read a lot about education in third world countries as both my grandmothers were teachers and I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal in my family for two females to be in an administrative teaching position. In a lot of my readings, the author simply state that we have a right to education, that is why everyone should be educated. Though what I am reading makes sense, it doesn’t really drive the point home. I find Malala approach, to the issue of education, to be the best one yet. Malala talks about education by showing the ignorance. Not once have I read “we should educate people because…” Instead Malala shows how people are ignorant, using the Taliban’s control as her primary example. “Mullahs often misinterpret the Quran and Hadith when they teach them in our country, as few people understand the original Arabic. Fazlullah exploited this ignorance. (Malala Yousafzai 113)” Here, Malala clearly states how the Taliban uses the ignorance of the public to his advantage by manipulating them through their religious teachings. Malala continues this by showing a specific example of how the Taliban uses the ignorance to manipulate the people. “In the Holy Quran it is not written that men should go outside and women should work all day in the home. In our Islamic studies class at school we used to write essays entitled “How the Prophet Lived.” We learned that the first wife of the Prophet was a businesswoman called Khadijah. (Malala Yousafzai 116)” Khadijah was a businesswoman, she did not stay at home and tend to children or cook. However Fazlullah is teaching that the Quran is stating that woman should be the opposite of what Khadijah was, and no one knows the difference since they cannot read the Quran. Malala hasn’t said “this is why we need to educate people” she has simply shown the facts and allowed the reader to come to their own conclusion.

    However, though I am EXTREMELY impressed with the book, I do have one issue. There are little details which Malala talks about but doesn’t explain to the reader. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed this details if I didn’t know any better. An example of this is why the Quran is written in old Arabic. Malala states that “few people understand the original Arabic” but doesn’t expand beyond that. The reason why few people can’t understand original Arabic isn’t because they are uneducated (though that is the situation in some cases). Even some of the most educated people (doctors, professors, etc.) can’t read the Quran. It is because the Quran has never been translated. The Bible has been translated from language to language and from century to century so people can understand it (King James Bible, New American Bible, etc.) but that is not the case with the Quran. The Quran that exists today is the EXTACT same Quran that was read 100 years ago. There are different reasons why-meaning gets lost between translations, it is tradition, but Malala doesn’t explain that.

    Another example of this is when Malala is describing how the Taliban has changed the media. “The media in Swat were under pressure to give positive coverage to the Taliban-some even respectfully called the Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan School Dada, when in reality he was destroying schools. (Malala Yousafzai 142).” Malala doesn’t explain why calling the Taliban spokesman School Dada is respectful, and also ironic. Dada means your father’s father (AKA your grandfather on your father’s side). Traditionally, one’s grandfather is extremely respected, but your father’s father is the head of the family (the most respected of them all). You would be extremely reverent to the father’s father. To say the “School Dada” is to say the father of schools, but in a reverent way. It is a respectful title but extremely ironic since the “School Dada” was the one destroying schools.
    I don’t know if you guys understood this or not, or if not understanding this in any way affected your understanding of the book.

    I think I have written enough to explain how I feel about “I Am Malala” so far. I LOVE to book and have already started reading into Part III (I couldn’t stop!)

    • ashhuque

      Looking back over my post, I feel I didn’t clarify just how different the old Arabic is. Malala speaks Urdu and the Quran is written in old Arabic, that is like English to Mandarin. Of the people who can read the Quran, most of them don’t understand what they are even saying! (It’s like speaking Mandarin without understanding the translation.) Only a very few people can read AND understand the Quran.

      What I am trying to say is that Old Arabic and Urdu are EXTREMELY different.

  9. JinghuiYoloLou

    Reading on in the 3rd quarter of the novel, I am surprised to see how other countries around the world are oblivious to the dangers of living in Swat then, and when they finally do notice the treatment of certain groups in Swat, this shines some light on the subject to encourage further exploration. The contrast between how normal a video of a woman being publicly flogged seems to be to the Pashtuns compared to the reactions of everyone else around the world is alarming, “A few days later the video was everywhere. A woman film-maker in Islamabad got hold of it and it was shown on Pakistan TV over and over, and then around the world. People were rightly outraged, but this reaction seemed odd to us, as it showed they had no idea of the awful things going on in our valley” (Yousafzai 170). This quote shows that with the right amount of attention, people can collaborate together and pursue a common goal, in this case, spreading the video of the flogged woman quite successfully. If that cooperation extends to protecting girls’ education and discouraging Taliban oppression, then those subjects would be taken care of in a short amount of time. This proves that a few lone voices, Malala and her family, cannot retaliate against Taliban oppression and be successful because the Taliban have more power in numbers, and can easily silence whoever spoke out against their rule. But when a larger community, maybe all of Islam stand up against them together, then the conflict can be resolved quickly in favor of those who are individually stronger and united. Malala and her family prove to be more perseverant in their own beliefs than the Taliban, but are outmatched in the amount of supporters as the villagers refuse to join out of fear of being executed. This is why Malala considers it vital for more attention to be shown on the problems in her community, so that more people elsewhere can support her cause, unfazed by the threat of the Taliban. The importance of safety in numbers is for a common goal to be reached with a powerful community effort.

    Another theme presented in a positive way in this novel is the concept of bravery and selflessness. An example of which being that Ziauddin Malala follows through with his own beliefs and wanting to support Zahid Kahn in the hospital despite the probable risk of being targeted by the Taliban. Despite all the warnings from friends that Ziauddin is found to be next on the Taliban’s hit list, Ziauddin refuses to flee, and wants the issue of women’s education to be resolved so that everybody can be educated. When given the chance to receive bodyguards to help protect himself in his campaign, Malala reflects upon his words, “‘If you go around with a lot of security the Taliban will use Kalashnikovs or suicide bombers and more people will be killed,’ he said. ‘At least I’ll be killed alone'” (Malala 233). Here, Ziauddin continues to do what is best for the future of his community despite risking his life, while minimizing damage to anyone else. Here, it is shown that he will not tolerate being frightened by the threatening Taliban, and that he genuinely believes in his goal to uplift the oppression and restriction on women’s education. The novel protrays Ziauddin as a role model, and his character traits to be positive influences on the readers.

    What I find amusing is that people seem to take what they already have for granted. What I am referring to is education, whereas there exist some individuals who do not attempt to utilize the opportunities they have in school in the United States, to which I would have to shake my head in disgust as there are many around the world who would love to take their positions and gain the potential that those slackers have wasted. We take education as a joke in America, not exactly ranking among the top performers around the world. From a downtrodden statistic, we somehow continue to plunge further down in effort, to which Malala influences the Western readers to take initiative in learning by using her effort to compete against other students in speech competitions; to be able to contribute positively to one’s community. An important theme Malala teaches the reader is to cherish the opportunities one has instead of mindlessly craving other unproductive concepts. From utilizing this potential, one can achieve numerous goals.

    With love, care, and $wag,

    Jinghui Lou

  10. Alright, since we have brushed onto the idea of woman equality in previous posts, I had to share this episode of the Daily Show. I think we never really considered that there are still some problems in the United States that can also be seen in different societies all around the world, like with Malala in Pakistan. Anyway, here’s the link:

    Now, for my analysis of I Am Malala:
    Jinghui has made an excellent point about the strength in numbers. With cooperation and the perseverance to get towards a goal, anything is possible. Not only does this theme show in human societies, but can also be seen in nature, such as lions working together to hunt down wildebeests. It’s rare to find a similar theme shown in both humans and animals, but nonetheless it still happens. It is hard to try to be the voice of reason in a society ruled by chaos and fear, and therefore it is even harder to try to convince others to stand up in their damaged society. But, I remember watching a Ted Talks, and the speaker brought up an interesting observation. When someone tries to encourage other people to do something, that particular person is not the most courageous one. It’s the person who decided to follow the leader who is the truly brave person. The speaker explained that without the second person following the leader, the leader would look crazy. The second person in making a gamble: either start something up, or fail miserably. While the speaker used a video of someone trying to get people to dance at a picnic for his example, it’s interesting that this concept can be seen all around the world. Malala was the leader in this situation, where she is standing up for universal education. Her schoolmates and people that she meets in her life will decide if her actions are worthy enough to follow her for.

    Jinghui also said something about people not taking things for granted, especially in the United States. I personally believe that these types of people will appear in almost every society though, such as seen in Malala’s little brother with, “When my brothers’ schools reopened after the winter break, Khushal said he would rather stay at home like me. I was cross”(I Am Malala 165). There will always be people who won’t truly appreciate what they have until it’s taken away from them. Malala’s little brother might be very close to the pain of not having education, but until he loses it,he will not fully appreciate it. Also keep in mind that people have different skill sets, and education in certain subjects might not be useful to them. But, as Alyssa (I think) mentioned, it was ignorance that had allowed the Taliban and the corrupt government to flourish for such a long time. Everyone deserves to be able to make their own decisions, but before that, they need to know about what they are making decisions about. In the United States, we are making steps towards this, but not have fully reached it. In America, I think the reason that people don’t know too much about politics or anything about the outside world is because of laziness and taking education for granted. People don’t strive to learn in the U.S. They learn what is required of them, and move on with their lives. Then, people will act surprised when some big political or financial scandal comes up, when they had the resources that would enable them to know about the scandal beforehand. As Jinghui said, people in the United States are downright infuriating when it comes to education. People are taking things like education for granted and are now spoiled. I propose that every American student who says that education isn’t important will be shipped out and swapped with a student from another country who would appreciate the opportunities given to them. In the quickly industrializing world, people have to learn the basics of a whole variety of subjects, then find out what they want to do later in life and focus on that. Unfortunately, to make a living in the modern world, most people have to be very well off in almost all of these subjects. Education is rapidly turning into a more complex subject that could end up hurting students if there is too much. I was reading an article that stated “As psychologist Robert Leahy points out: ‘The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.’ (Slate.com). We might be getting to a stage in human history where just a basic education isn’t enough to get by in the world. This will leave kids in lesser developed countries to play catch up even more. At this rate, it’s like a young child trying to catch up with a formula one car. Ok, it might not be that bad, but if nothing changes, society is definitely going to get there.

    Much like my last post, I have much more to say, but I don’t want to take away anything from Morgan and Alyssa. Unfortunately, I was not able to respond to any of your posts due to the fact that I was extremely busy for the last few weeks (a test for every single day last week, except I had two tests on Friday!) But, things are more relaxed now, so I will most likely have time to answer to your blog posts. And if you guys don’t say what I was planning on saying, I’ll probably will post more of my opinions later. I am really excited to finish the book to come to a complete opinion about the tragedies in Pakistan.

    Serene, single, and saucy
    – Esteban

  11. ashhuque

    I think Jinghui brings a very good point forward, most people don’t know what is happening in Pakistan. As Jinghui has said, Malala explains how “this reaction [of the video] seemed odd to us, as it showed they had no idea of the awful things going on in our valley. (170)” However, people were still ignorant. “I wished their outrage extended to the Taliban’s banning of girls’ education. (170)” The world’s eyes had been opened up the abuse happening, through the video of the woman being flogged, but they still failed to realize other issues such as the banning of women education.

    I remember last year there was a video that went viral of an eleven year old Yemeni girl who spoke out against child marriage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zt35S9NICDs). I saw many of my friends talk about how child marriage as if it was something more recent, they had no idea that child marriages have been happening for centuries! Just as many people don’t know, or understand, what is happening in Pakistan.

    However, I think there are also people who DO understand what is happening in Pakistan with education, women oppression, and more. They simply see those issues as less important. As Malala points out “now they [America] seemed to be more alarmed about Pakistan than Afghanistan. Not because of girls like me and my school but because our country has more than 200 nuclear warheads and they were worried about who was going to control them. (174)” It is unfair to say that no one knows what is happening in Pakistan, it is just those who do understand the many issues, find what Malala’s struggles with as less important.

    I noticed in this section of the book a LOT of foreshadowing. An example of this is when Malala receives the first National Peace Prize for children under 18-years-old. They named the prize “the Malala Prize” in honor of Malala, however, she notices her father doesn’t like the prize’s name. “In Pakistan we don’t have a culture of honoring people while they are alive, only the dead, so he [father] thought it was a bad omen. (215)” This foreshadows Malala getting shot in the head for her openly and publicly opposing the Taliban. She received the award, named after her, for opposing the Taliban and will nearly die for the same reason.

    Malala was nominated and won a lot of other awards. One award she was nominated for because Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the man who helped Nelson Mandela bring down the apartheid, pushed her name forward. Not only is it impressive that she was nominated (but sadly didn’t win,) but also an extremely well known and influential man had been listening to her from a different continent-that’s pretty impressive! Malala had been so publicly known but yet, I hadn’t heard of her until she was shot.

    Along with her many award, Malala received a lot of money. She put that money towards creating a school for street kids. By this time, Malala was twelve years old and already making such a big impact on others. My grandmother made a school very similar to Malala’s school and I had the chance to go visit it last December. It was there I realized how much I take education for granted. As Steve and Jinghui pointed out, more often than not, education is something we take for granted. Malala’s brother does the same, it is because we have always had education and will always have education, it is a certainty for us. For Malala and the street kids whom she created the school for, education is a gift.

    “I Am Malala” is a great book that brings to light many issues that are often ignored. I love Malala’s optimistic perspective throughout all her hardships and am VERY interested to see how the book ends. 🙂

  12. morganlloyd99

    Hello fellow members. Sincerest apologies for yet another late blog post.
    I think a subject that has really come up in this novel and our conversations is this idea of the importance of education. At the risk of repeating what others have said already, reading this book has really driven home the point that education really matters. Like many other students, I sometimes think that school can be a chore, and that the things we learn here don’t really matter. But then I read about some of the examples of ignorance in Pakistan, such as, “On the plane we noticed that some people could not find their seats because they could not read letters and numbers” (219). To those of us here in America, this seems incredible. But this ignorance in Pakistan seems almost a fact of life. It is impossible not to read this book and consider this to be a humanitarian crisis, which of course was the intended purpose of the book. Speaking of how she lost her home and her opportunity for education for a while, when the Taliban and the Pakistan army battled for control of her valley, Malala says that it felt like “having my heart ripped out” (176). I imagine I would feel the same if I was deprived of my opportunity for education. Though we take school for granted, grumbling about it, it is really a blessing in disguise that allows us to seek a good life for ourselves. Many in Pakistan don’t have this opportunity, it seems, and that is a situation that needs our immediate attention.
    Of course, our aid doesn’t get the positive reception we think. In this book, the U.S. is not portrayed as the saviors of the people we think we are. For example, after peace talks were brokered with the Taliban the Americans were furious. They thought that the Pakistani government was catering to the Taliban, giving them free rein. As we later find out, the Taliban do continue their activities, forcing the family to leave, but we should not have passed judgement so early. As Malala says, “None of these people had to live here” (169). If we are not the ones who have to live there, deal with the consequences of our actions, than we should not be the ones to perform those actions in the first place. Reading this book has also forced me to revise my views on our foreign policy.
    Last but not least I have been very impressed with the bravery of Malala’s family. There is one point where Malala’s father assumes he is going to die, but thinks that that is no reason to stop fighting. The aforementioned quote saying that he wishes not to have guards to spare their lives really touched me. I find it very amazing the depths of courage these people have. Unfortunately, I know the eventual ending, and the dramatic irony is incredible. I cannot wait to read the conclusion to this gripping, thought provoking book.
    -The Captain

  13. I Am Malala: 10/10 thumbs up.

    I Am Malala, an once in a lifetime type of autobiography that doesn’t bore the reader. Unlike many books in our generation, I Am Malala inspires change in the world, and does so effectively. By using real personal stories, Malala conveys a peaceful tone that encourages change not only in education, but in overall universal human rights. The book makes the reader cognizant about issues outside of his/her general area. After all, people tend to live inside a bubble of ignorance, and I Am Malala pops this so called bubble.

    The autobiography starts off with the incident that made Malala Yousafzai famous, which effectively hooks the reader into continue reading. After describing what happened to herself (spoiler alert: she was shot in the head and survived), she starts to talk about the history of the valley where she lived in. From there, she starts telling personal stories from her life, and providing historical facts and stories when needed. Her writing style gives off a very informative, yet not too didactic book. As someone who deeply loves history and current events, I found her way of writing to be perfect in the way that she finds a perfect balance between personal and factual stories. Oftentimes books like I Am Malala are either too factual, therefore boring and hard to follow, or too personal, which might make the reader feel bad about himself for not knowing. Malala doesn’t try to prove anyone guilty, she is just trying to tell a story to fix real issues, and she also wants to have her voice heard in history.

    Another thing I found interesting in the novel was the new perspective Malala has shown in terms of the United States. Normally, we, as people who live in the United States, think of the country as perfect, but Malala shows that this isn’t the case. The way she simply states facts about the U.S., like “On November 23, a US drone killed civilian Pashtuns” shows that once again she finds a balance between facts and getting her opinions in. The voice that she has in the novel is very forgiving, and she also doesn’t go overboard on the trying to convince the reader on anything. If Malala really wanted to, she could have ranted for entire chapters about the issues the United States have caused, but instead she is simply honest. This simple stating of facts doesn’t make anyone who lives in the US defensive about the country, but just opens the eyes of the reader. She describes the malevolence of the Taliban, and yet she doesn’t seem angry in the slightest. Even when she describes them killing civilians and even at the point where she was shot in the head by one of them, she doesn’t seem truly angry. I believe that it’s this one quality out of many wonderful qualities of Malala that makes people listen to her. Her call out to change is analogous to many other greats in history, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Junior. Even when she had brushed death, she still stood up for what she believed in. Overall, this book was thrilling and eye-opening, and would recommend it to anyone who can read (if they can’t read, teach them how, because that’s what Malala’s main goal is: education).

    That was my review and there are still a lot of things you other posters can work with without repeating me.
    P.S. I would really want to know what would be Malala’s reaction if she read this blog.

  14. JinghuiYoloLou

    After finishing up this masterpiece, “I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, I am absolutely astounded by her true character, at how she perseveres even through the most intimidating form of oppression from the Taliban, to be able to speak out for the unopposed education of girls and boys. The overall fluid story has given me a new, more optimistic insight on life while addressing and educating me upon dark topics, which the author has intended for her readers to think. I would rate this pleasurable journey of enlightenment a “Malala, will you go to prom with me next year?” / 10. [Perceive as 911/10].

    Malala writes with a neutral perspective, not necessarily assigning blame or hate to any groups, proven when she attempts to sympathize and understand the backgrounds of those assailants and antagonists. She is a forgiving person, even towards the assailants who shot her for hindering the Taliban’s power over neighboring communities, “My only regret was that I hadn’t had a chance to speak to them before they shot me. Now they’d never hear what I had to say. I didn’t even think a single bad thought about the man who shot me – I had no thoughts of revenge” (Yousafzai 282). I am absolutely surprised that anyone could even have this level of forgiveness or tolerance, and appreciate how she carefully contemplates about her own morals and values before acting upon pure emotion and enacting upon something regrettable.

    She is also, as Steven Dobrioglo perceived, not too didactic about which morals to live by, and what to do. She instead, speaks in a general yet engaging tone toward her readers to achieve great potentials, and to pursue ambitions freely, to cease at no boundary to be able to live life. This tone is appealing to any reader, as everybody wants to be able to make their own decisions. Malala also tries to relate to the reader in a simplistic fashion: by finding similarities in interests and opinions on current popular topics such as Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight”, to be able to bond with the hearts and minds of readers who have two ‘X’ Chromosomes (and me), as well as their mothers.

    I would definitely consider this novel in my personal ‘top 5’ list, and would recommend it for class assigned reading because it excels in bonding and relating with the students, while subtly teaching optimistic and selfless themes. One can be able to analyze multiple powerful themes that are thought provoking in a clear introduction but with an endless opportunity to explore.

    The events acknowledged throughout the book entertain the reader in some areas, while inducing heart shattering and tear streaming moments. I entered into this novel in a volatile manner out of frustration of Amir Veshagh negatively impacting my life. But I continued through to the end with my brash feelings dissipated, and left with an optimistic view. The phrase “If you are afraid, you can’t move forward” (Malala 308) will forever be remembered by me as to how much I agree with it. This book had the power to change me, so it must be a positive influence for future readers to discuss about.

    To further put it into layman’s terms,
    Book. Good. Read.

    With Love, Care, and $wag,
    Jinghui Lou

  15. ashhuque

    I Am Malala is an amazing book that brings many different issues into perspective. I would give the book 9/10. The reason I reduced a point was because there are details (that I have mentioned before in my other blog posts) that Malala mentions but doesn’t explain. However, I realize that someone without prior knowledge wouldn’t have realized these gaps. However, since I do have prior knowledge it did irritate me (but only a little) that Malala didn’t clarify these issues. However, that minor issue aside, I Am Malala is an absolutely terrific autobiography.

    As Steve said, this book doesn’t dull the readers amazingly. Malala’s shadow writer, Christina Lamb, and Malala, have done an AMAZING job explaining the complex issues in Pakistan that are easy to follow and engage the readers.

    I Am Malala brings attention to issues that we, Americans, don’t hear about. Malala’s neutral perspective brings the readers to their own conclusions of how they feel about women oppression, right to education, and other issues that Malala faced.

    Something I really loved about the book is how Malala seems to hold nearly no resentment despite being almost killed. I remember watching Malala in one of her interviews. She said “If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there will be no difference between you and the Talib.” Despite being abused, oppressed, and shot by the Taliban, Malala still doesn’t wish to harm the Taliban. It is impossible to not admire Malala and the strides she has made in the world.

    This book I would recommend to High School students and older. Since I Am Malala deals with issues that are depressing and complex, I think it would go above the heads of middle school students and younger. They won’t fully appreciate Malala’s message and what she did. However, any one who is mature enough to read the book-should. I Am Malala definitely goes in my favorites list and I have no regrets about reading it. 🙂

    Grateful for what I have,
    Ash Huque

  16. morganlloyd99

    I Am Malala – 10/10
    I’m not going to do what I did last time and rate a book 11/10, but that’s not because this book is any worse than my previous book. It’s pretty much just because we already have a 911/10 rating and I don’t want to artificially inflate the score any further. But wow. This book was really good.

    As with my last book, and with most books I suppose, the last quarter was truly the best part. From the second I picked up the book and thumbed to the last section I could not put it down. I read about Malala’s shooting, the suspense and trauma surrounding that accident and her recovery, and the epilogue, in which she reaffirms her faith in Allah and her cause.
    loved this book for many reasons. One was the voice which constantly shone through throughout the entire work. At the risk of reiterating earlier statements, Malala’s impartiality and refusal to give into anger surprised me. She even said herself that she does not hate the Taliban who shot her and has no desire for revenge. This impartiality serves to strengthen her message, in my opinion, because it contrasts with the brutal behavior of the Taliban. It helps that this book is written surprisingly humorously, and had its funny moments. By describing ordinary life in the Swat valley, Malala again draws contrasts with the darkness of Taliban occupation. If this book just chronicled the story of the Taliban, without showing the relationships of the people, the bonds that they share, it would be half the book it is now.

    This book is very excellently written as well, adding details at just the right moments. Even just the last part of this book evoked various emotions, such as rage, sadness, yet optimism at the end. I could not believe the struggles that Malala’s family had to overcome and was touched by the acts of kindness documented in this book. It stands as a testament that even though there are people like the Taliban, who commit evil acts, there are many, many good people in the world too. I am impressed that the book managed to convey this message of duality in almost every section, the light paired with the dark, and how the light will triumph. After all, Malala was shot, but she still survived. And even though I knew that she would recover, the section describing Malala’s recovery was extremely suspenseful. That is one of the signs of good writing, in my mind, and it showed itself here.

    I would recommend this book to no one younger than high school age, on account of the subject matter and the fact that it is a book intended for a more mature audience. Otherwise, I believe any and all should read it. At the end of the book a page describes Malala’s charity, the Malala Fund, dedicating to promoting education for all worldwide. I for one am ready to donate and think that awareness of this charity and this problem should be known worldwide. The Taliban thought that they could silence Malala, she says, but instead they gave her a voice. It is our duty to listen to this voice, educate ourselves about this terrible injustice, and help to right a wrong in the Swat Valley and elsewhere.

    Read it, guys. Really. Do.

    Morgan Lloyd, signing off.

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