Book Review: I am Malala

An inspirational story

By Tony Fraei

I’m sure that most of you may have heard of this young lady. You may recall the news of when she was shot in the head by the Taliban, in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, returning home from school on a bus.

She is also the youngest ever person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb, covers her life up to the age of 16. Today she is only 20 years old.

Her book is one the most inspiring that I have read. It is not too long and I managed to read it in one sitting.

A very challenging environment

I found the detail of the book very helpful in gaining an insight into how folks still manage to go about their everyday lives while living in an extremely challenging environment.

The Swat Valley was a Taliban strong hold. As you will be aware the Taliban have a much distorted interpretation of Islam. They are most certainly completely against women being educated. Their interpretation of the Koran is complete nonsense.

The Taliban oversight in the Swat Valley was brutal, with bombings, public floggings and public executions. However, people still endeavoured to continue with their normal lives. But not without fear, though some like Malala and her father, plus others, show great human courage as highlighted in this book.

Inspiration from a Nazi opponent

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

 As a surprise to me, Martin Niemöller’s famous poem always seen in Holocaust museums, is referred to by the more courageous folks who challenge the Taliban. I found it of some note that his poem is used by people in both a western and now an eastern culture to help inspire them!

What does also come through in the book is that, the majority of folks in any culture just want what we all want in our daily lives.

Another point I learnt from the book was who the major recruiting base was for both the likes of the Taliban and also a group like Isis. It certainly wasn’t what I thought! You will have to read the book. As a clue it certainly lines up with some things that have transpired in the last few years in the west.

Eastern and western cultures

Noble Prize winner Malala Yousafzai

Any of you who have lived or read about the east will well know the differences between Eastern and Western cultures. I’m sure like me you will see in the book that in an eastern town or city you probably wouldn’t come across an old person being found dead in their home three months after the event.

On the other hand young Malala wouldn’t be alive today if she wasn’t evacuated to a Birmingham Hospital in the West! Things sort of balance out of the good and bad in every culture and the more we can all take the good from each the better I guess.

In summary I’m sure you will find it an enjoyable read, plus I would recommend it to any of you who are in book club. I’m sure you find a lot of material to discuss.




Beautiful story. I can recommend the movie also. This book and Malala’s story are really important to our 10 and 11 year old daughters.