I am Malala - A review

Title: I Am Malala
Author: Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Price: Rs 295/-

How often does it happen that you're just finishing a book and a reviewing challenge comes up? First, I'm not big on reviews.. writing them that is. I love reading them though.

'I am Malala' is a book I've been wanting to read for a long time for lots of reasons. Though I'm not much for autobiographies I love women protagonists and one as brave and inspiring as this one made it a sure read for me. Also, I have always been curious about life in Pakistan because they are so close and so like us yet so very different in many ways.

All those reasons made the book a compelling read.

This is the story of Malala, a young Pakistani girl, who is passionate about the cause of Women's education. 

Malala was the eldest of three children. Both her younger siblings were boys. Despite the bias against girls that was/is prevalent in Pakistan, much like India, she remained her father's favourite. Her mother was illiterate yet a very forward thinking woman. However, it was her father who influenced her most. He was a speaker and an educationist and ran schools of his own. She would sit near him and listen to him as he told stories or later, discussed politics. As she grew older she started going out with him to deliver talks on the need for education. They would talk at rallies and meets and at radio stations.

She traces the political upheavals in Pakistan - Musharraf's coming to power, Benazir's assassination, the Taliban rise, 9/11 and it's effect on Pakistan and also Osama's capture. 

Her relatively happy life as the brightest student of her class, changed when the Taliban took over the Swat valley.
"I was ten when the Taliban came to the Valley. Moniba (her friend) and I had been reading the Twilight series and longed to be vampires."
What it must have been for a free-thinking, Twilight reading, bright young girl to suddenly be barred from school, is hard to imagine. From worrying about whether she would top her class yet again she had to start worrying about how long she would be able to go to school at all. 

However, Malala and her friends refused to be cowed down by the Taliban. They would hide their books under their shawls along the way to school. She talks at length about life under their rule. She derived her strength from her father who canvassed tirelessly against them. She also wrote a blog for the BBC under the pseudonym Gul Makai.

When she was 15 in 2012, on her way back from school, the Taliban shot her in  the head at point blank range. Nobody expected her to survive. But she did and despite her experiences, continues to champion her cause even today.

Her's is a very fascinating journey and that makes the book a great read. 

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