Malala Yousafzai’s story truly is an inspiration and a stark reminder that we should be incredibly grateful for what we have. With the aid of British journalist Christina Lamb, Yousafzai writes in detail of the trials and tribulations of growing up in the Swat district of Pakistan. The theme of hope runs throughout I Am Malala; an exploration of her childhood, her campaigns for education and her aching recovery after being shot on a school bus by the Taliban. The horrific events which take place in the book show that Malala is a fearless threat to the oppressive ideals of the Taliban: “the Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking”.
Malala deservedly dedicates much of the book to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, whose campaigns in Swat were equally as daring and ambitious as his daughters. He is easily the greatest symbol of hope and perseverance in Malala’s life, the most inspiring moment being his never-ending attempts to build a school for boys and girls, a process constantly thwarted by a lack of money, corruption in the educational system, and severe floods.
Christina Lamb seems to provide much more factual accounts of events which went on politically around Pakistan. These parts are crucial to understand the context of Malala’s upbringing in Swat, but I did find myself disengaged from them at times, aching for the focus of the book to return to Malala’s experiences. I would also have liked to hear more about Malala after the shooting; obviously the news provides much of this since her worldwide recognition, but it would have been interesting learning about it from Malala’s point of view.
I Am Malala is a captivating read, showcasing the effect that one person can have on the world. Malala’s passion towards education is ignited throughout the entire book, put most eloquently as she addresses the criticism that she demands Western ideals in the East: “Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”