I selected “I Am Malala” because I wanted to learn more about Malala Yousafzai, who made international headlines in 2012 when she was shot by the Taliban for attending school. The history of the school Malala attended and her father’s life were the focus of the first part of the book. It was clear that Malala’s father was the driving force for her to be educated, as he was a prominent figure in the community and an ardent advocate for education. Malala herself didn’t emerge as a main character for some time, and even then, the majority of the book addressed her family and country’s background. This made sense since as young girl, Malala didn’t have enough of a life story to fill an entire book.
I did not expect the book to be literary masterpiece, so I was not surprised with the simple writing or Malala’s juvenile thoughts about homework and friends. I was surprised to learn that Malala gained international recognition as a proponent of women’s education before she was shot. She wrote a blog and gave interviews about the conditions of her life under the oppressive Taliban rules that prevented her from attending school. Malala was determined to be educated even if she had to pretend to be younger than she was or hide her books as she walked to school. No matter how many times I read about the ban of tv, music, and games, and the implementation of rules that require male escorts for women out of their home, the Taliban’s rules still seemed unimaginable. I can’t fathom that someone would be threatened by an educated woman. The book prompted me to ask myself what I would have done to be educated in a country that prohibited it. I want to think I would have been as brave as Malala.
Her courage was inspirational and I can see why Malala was the youngest person to ever be nominated for the Noble Peace Prize. Although the writing and execution of this book wasn’t particularly astonishing, the content was interesting.