A Review of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

While I had heard many pieces of her story, I didn’t know how much I was missing until I read her book. It should have been obvious, but I never considered that she had long been a well-known activist for girl’s education in Pakistan. When I heard it said before that Yousafzai had been an advocate, I assumed that they meant within her area and not nationally known in Pakistan with a New York Times documentary.

I’ve seen in other reviews that some don’t appreciate the Pakistani history, but I did. I felt like it helped to give context to the attitudes of the people around her and especially to the fight of her father. When you can honestly admit how influenced you are by your parents, it can be equally important to include their motivations in your story. I feel like leaving out backstory of her father and their area in Pakistan would not have given as complete a story as she did. I feel like including this acknowledges that her audience will largely by Westerners who don’t understand her valley, her country, her people or her culture. These are essential things to understand about a person when reading about their lives. I appreciated the inclusion of these things. Understanding her family was important to understanding her willingness to act as well. She had a great role model for activist in her father and that needed to be included.

All together, it was a very interesting story and well written. It was interesting to read of the way the Taliban entered her area, their view of the politicians in Pakistan, the way the Taliban was expelled, the fight against them, and the reactions to the US killing Osama Bin Laden in their country, as well as her personal story of activism and the shooting. I hope she gets to go home one day. It is clear that her campaign is far from over.

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