110a9-i2bam2bmalalaThis book is called I AM MALALA, written by Malala Yousafzai. So, it is an autobiography. Malala is a world changer and this is her story. She is born in Pakistan, Mingora and is a Pashtun from birth. She, unlike other girls, is very lucky and has a very supportive father who owns a school. Suddenly, a man named Fazlullah starts talking about stopping girls from going to school and keeping women at home on the radio. Then, one day, when she sees children working at the garbage dump instead of being at school, she realizes that she has to do something about it. Malala and her school friends are always talking about what they heard on the radio and get really scared when something even worse happens. Fazlullah forms the Taliban and starts doing bad stuff to women in Afghanistan. He has now said that women should not be allowed out of the house without a known male accompanying her.  If they went out without a male relative, or without wearing a proper burqa (a top to bottom black dress), he and his followers threw acid on their face! Malala is now really upset and when she starts to see that the Taliban have come to Mingora and are putting banners up which are stopping women from coming out of their houses without a male person, she starts to talk to God and asks Him about how she can help. One day, Malala wakes up and has an idea. She will ignore the chat about the Taliban and instead talk about the things girls her age should be talking about, like, TV shows, friends and what I’m going to do on the weekend etc. But now the Taliban is becoming even crueler: they are scolding women if they don’t wear a burqa and they are beating up men if they are not accompanying their wife and daughter. Mingora was becoming an unsafe place! One of Malala’s father’s friends in the news channel BBC now wants a girl to write a journal about how she feels about the Taliban and how her life is. Malala is keen on it and gets a pseudonym: Gul Makai a Pashtun folktale character. One day, Malala’s father finds a note on the door of his room saying ‘Close down this school otherwise you know what we can do!’ Malala’s father wrote back ‘Please don’t kill my students. You can hurt me but not my students.’ Malala has now had many interviews and has the chance to talk against the Taliban and she says that the only thing she wants is for girls to have a right to learn, have good education and grow up to be whatever they want to be. Little did she know that the Taliban was hearing all this and following her. Soon, she became a target for the Taliban and on the bus, on the way home, she got shot right near the brain. Malala declares that she doesn’t remember any of it: the shooting, bleeding, going to 4 different hospitals, none of it. Instantly, Malala was moved to a hospital in Mingora, which said that she needed special treatments to be done. Then she was moved to Peshawar. There, there happened to be two special doctors, Dr. Fiona and Dr. Javid. She was moved to Rawalpindi and then to Birmingham, England to the ‘Queen Elizabeth Hospital’. When Malala woke up she couldn’t speak because there was a tube in her throat. She received a pink notebook and a white teddy bear. The pink notebook was to write all her questions and what she wanted to say and the teddy bear was to comfort her. Malala couldn’t hear properly, was seeing double, couldn’t close her left eye, couldn’t move her left hand and whenever she shook her head had an intense pain there. After a long time in the hospital, she was a little bit stronger and her sight was much better. The doctors inserted a small hearing device in her ear so that she could hear better and she started to live in Birmingham with her family. One afternoon, in the middle of her physics lesson, the headmistress called her outside and Malala thought ‘what happened? Am I in trouble?’. In fact, she was not in trouble at all! She had won the Nobel Prize along with one other man. That was when she realized how much her teachers in Birmingham cared for her because they had tears in their eyes. Malala was invited to talk to the whole school and even before that to the UN! Malala now is on many news channels and still has speeches and interviews. E.g.: She had one with Christian Amanpour on CNN and with many other people. Malala is such a strong person, a world changer!

What I like about the book:

  • I was so hooked on to the book that I finished it in one day! It is a very inspiring book to me.
  • I find it a co-incidence that the lesson Malala found in the ‘Wizard Of Oz’ book is the lesson that I found in this book: if you really want to do something, you will get to it even with the hurdles on your way.
  • Isn’t it amazing how a child, especially a child, can have the courage to speak up against such a bad group when it is that sort of time when what is going to happen next is unpredictable?
  • She must have had such a hard life doing chores at home in Mingora and managing to keep her cool with her ‘annoying brothers’ etc. But I think the hardest part of her life was when the Taliban said that they were forced to shoot her because she was speaking against them. But in spite of this they continued to not let women do what they want in their own free will.
  • What I find unfair about what they are doing is that they are saying it is part of their religion when actually it’s not.
  • I know this is not part of what I learnt but I was amazed at how good her description was. I could almost imagine how her bedroom looked like and how the alley where she played cricket looked like and other things she described looked like.
  • I would love to meet MalalaJ! Since I read this book by myself, my mum and I had a chat about it and I landed up asking myself ‘what would I do if I had the opportunity like Malala? I said all sorts of different things but I couldn’t get to one that would change the world. If you did something like Malala, what would it be?

I would give this book a 9 out of 10 rating.



Note : This Review was first published at the Guardian Teen Books site