I Am Malala – The Girl Who Stood Up For Education [Book Review]

“What have I done wrong that I should be afraid? All I want to do is go to school. And that is not a crime. That is my right.” – Malala

Admittedly, I received this book quite a few years ago and yet somehow it took me this long to actually read it. I’m so glad I did though because it’s completely different reading the story from Malala’s point of view than the perspective we naturally got from the news, word of mouth, etc.

Image result for malala yousafzai book

What stood out most to me about this book was not what Malala did to stand up for education (because I already knew that), but how she stood up for education and how this affected her. What I didn’t know was the connection she had with her father. I loved how he was so different to her than most fathers of that culture in the way that he believed in her as a woman and most importantly as a person. It was interesting reading about the typicality of a father and daughter relationship in Pakistan and how they transcended this. I think this is mostly what inspired Malala to do better, to stand up for herself, and to value herself most of all.

There were times whilst I was reading this that the reality of it really hit me straight in the heart. Sometimes I find myself distancing myself from emotions on purpose with books that are based on real life but when I delved into it, it really hurt to think that people could be so cruel and especially to someone so young.

These are two quotes about terrorism that particularly caught me off guard:

“I had grown up hearing the word terrorism – but I never really understood what it meant. Until now. Terrorism is different from war…Terrorism is fear all around you. It is going to sleep at night and not knowing what horrors the next day will bring.”

“And since I had been in the kitchen both times there were blasts near our house, I stayed as far from that room as possible. But how can a person live when she is afraid of a room in her own home?”

Not having been in these circumstances myself, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to have these kinds of fears all the time. I and many out there represent Malala before the incident – outsiders who don’t really understand terrorism at all even if we think we do. Because as she says, you never really know until you experience it.

What resonated with me most, however, was the connection to education. As a university student, it is sometimes easy to forget how much education should be appreciated. We worry about money, deadlines, lectures without stopping to think how lucky we are to even be learning in the first place. Malala’s dedication to work is crazy but once knowing that it is a luxury for someone like her it’s understandable that you would feel so strongly about doing the best that you can.

Image result for malala yousafzaiMy favourite quote from the book about education is undoubtedly this:

“We didn’t just want to get good grades. We wanted to get top grades…because when our teachers said ‘excellent!’ or ‘well done!’ our hearts would fly. Because when a teacher appreciates you, you think ‘I am something'”

Doing well in school wasn’t just about grades for Malala. It was about acceptance. When you can’t find acceptance and validation in everyday life, it makes sense that you would look towards your teachers for this instead. It’s never been something Malala has ever received – praise. And it’s just so wonderful how education makes her believe she is worthy and she is someone – she really is someone just like all of us.

As well as whole-heatedly recommending this book, I’d like to end this review on two quotes which sum up what I’ve taken away from this book most of all – the importance of Malala’s relationship with her father, and the importance of dreams as something that cannot be shattered.

“‘I’m not suffering, Aba,’ I longed to tell him. ‘You need not suffer either.’ I smiled my crooked smile and said simply, ‘Aba.’ My father smiled back through teary eyes. I knew that he knew exactly what I was thinking. We didn’t need words. We had shared every step of the journey that somehow brought us to this hospital room. And we would share every step going forward.”

“So, yes, the Taliban have shot me. But they can only shoot a body. They cannot shoot my dreams, they cannot kill my beliefs…”

5 thoughts on “I Am Malala – The Girl Who Stood Up For Education [Book Review]

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