I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.
Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I Am Malala is the moving story of a young girl who was shot by the Taliban whilst on a school trip. She was transferred to a hospital in the UK and, following her recovery, went on to speak out about education and inspire women worldwide. Her book documents her life in Pakistan up until she moved to Birmingham. During the course of the novel we find out about Malala’s parents and what it is like for women to live in the Swat Valley, always worried that they’ll do something to offend the Taliban. Swat Valley was once a scenic location that attracted hundreds of tourists, but that quickly changed once the Taliban arrived in 2007.
Right from the beginning of the book it is clear how brave and courageous Malala is. She’s determined to complete her education, despite the fact that the Taliban doesn’t approve of girls going to school. While her mother doesn’t have an education, Ziauddin, Malala’s father, pushes his daughter and she is able to attend the school he set up. I was actually quite surprised that Ziauddin treats both his songs and daughter equally. He’s so fearless, just like Malala.
About halfway through the book we witness the horrific event that changed Malala’s life and made her a household name. Malala is going on a trip with her friends when some members of the Taliban jump on the bus. They try to find out which one of the girls is Malala and shoot her. Unfortunately, Malala is really badly injured and is immediately hospitalised. A British doctor is in Malala’s ward and recommends that she goes to a hospital in the UK, since she would receive better treatment there. Sadly, Malala’s parents and brothers are unable to come over with her straightaway, but they are eventually able to join her when she’s recovered. I felt so sorry for Malala waking up in a strange hospital in a new country away from all her family. She seemed really confused and didn’t really understand what was going on.
If you take away all the awful things that have gone in her life, Malala seems like a regular teenage girl. She enjoys reading books, in particular Twilight, and hanging out with her friends. She also squabbles with her brothers on a regular basis, just like any sibling, and is very competitive at school – she always wants to be top of her class. Malala may not be the most easy character to relate to, but I urge girls to read her book. It’ll teach them to appreciate what they have and not take things for granted.