Review: I am Malala [3★]

I am Malala tells the story of the Pakistani girl who famously stood up for girls’ education and was shot by the Taliban. In her own words, Malala Yousafzai narrates the details of her home, her family, and her childhood up to that near-fatal moment, as well as her recovery afterwards. 

Malala grew up in Swat–a beautiful valley town in Pakistan. Her love for her home is clear throughout the pages, as is her love for her family and her passion for education. The beauties and joys of life in and around Swat come alive for readers through Malala’s writing. 

Sadly, when Malala was young, darkness and terror came to Pakistan when the Taliban implemented their oppressive regime. Their acts of terror devastated much of Malala’s home. The Pakistani military, along with foreign (U.S.) forces, made efforts to destroy the terrorists, but often these attempts were unsuccessful and left Pakistan further devastated. 

Despite the horror around her, Malala and her father spoke boldly and ceaselessly against the Taliban’s oppression and for the rights of women, especially their right to education. Malala became a well-known figure in her country and beyond, so much so that she was targeted by the Taliban itself. 

On her way to school one morning, Malala was shot through the face, an attack that nearly robbed her of her life. Yet Malala survived, recovered, and became an even bolder activist for education and women’s rights. The Taliban’s attempts to silence her only gave her a platform and a spotlight. 

Malala’s story is incredibly powerful and inspiring, and it is certainly worth knowing. However, her youth and inexperience as a writer are clearly evident in her autobiography. The writing is simple, wandering, and occasionally disorganized. Malala’s narrative often becomes slow and sleepy as she describes her homeland and her childhood. 

Although many of Malala’s actions were indeed very brave and noble, her tone throughout the book is heavy with praise for herself, her great character, and her sacrificial endeavors. The autobiography overall feels rather childish. 

That being said, Malala’s autobiography tells two important stories: her own, and the story of Pakistan’s struggle against terrorism and oppression. These stories are indeed worth knowing, and Malala’s cause is worth supporting.

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