I Am Malala

malalaI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzia with Christina Lamb as a contributor
2013 / 352 pages
read by  Archie Panjabi 9h 55m
Rating:  7.5

At first I felt like I’d read too many books like this before- memoirs of women in Muslim countries – usually at about young adult level but okay for adult.   As I got more into it though the story is a bit different in that Malala goes into the history of her area in northern Pakistan and its struggles with the Taliban in a very informative way.

For those who don’t know – Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize “for (her) struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education” http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2014/yousafzai-facts.html

She won the Nobel Prize after the book was published.  She had been outspoken prior to the shooting and she was specifically  targeted for her activism. The Taliban “took credit” for the shooting but she didn’t stop afterwards.  Still,  the reason she got the Nobel imo was because she was shot – otherwise most of us woule likely never have even heard of her.  Otoh,  she would not have been awarded the Nobel Prize had she simply been shot for going to school and been shot.

Bio of Malala:

Basically Malala got involved in the education


Swat Valley, on the Pakistan Afghanistan border

rights of girls because her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai,  was a outspoken educator in a Taliban controlled area.  He believed in educating girls.  Malala took up the cause on a personal and media level – she spoke to people and wrote a blog. People there knew who she was.   At the age of 15 she was shot in the face,  but miraculously survived and that didn’t stop her.  From her hospital in London she continued to write her blog,  wrote letters, gave interviews and made speeches.

The best part is the aftermath of the shooting as Malala takes us through what her parents and loved ones did from the time they heard,  what the doctors told them,  the procedures the doctors advised.  This is about 3/4 of the way through – Chapter 22.

Christina Lamb is listed as a “contributor.”   I don’t quite know exactly what that means – something more than an editor,  less than a ghost writer?  I read the word “co-author” somewhere in reference to her work and the link below certainly says at least that.    Lamb is very well versed in the Taliban and Afghanistan and I suspect the political sections are hers as well as working with Malala on the personal parts.  But Malala was 16 when the book was published and she is quite intelligent – I’m sure she did a bit of her own writing, much of which is self-congratulatory in a 16-year old kind of way. See more:  http://www.christinalamb.net/articles/my-year-with-malala.html


Swat Valley, Pakistan

The book has repetitive parts,  it has long boring parts and I wouldn’t recommend it for the literary value. I’m sense there is some skewing to make her father and herself look good (not exactly unusual in a memoir!)   That said,  if you want to know more about the Taliban in Pakistan and the repression of women or about the life of the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize it’s fairly informative.

Malala still lives and goes to school in England but travels world wide raising awareness and funding for establishing schools for girls in Pakistan.

Washington Post –