Book review: I am Malala

I Am Malala^ - Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
I'm in awe of Malala Yousafzai. I think she's so brave and inspirational, and I can't even imagine the life she's lead. I was very lucky to hear Malala speak at the Women of the World festival earlier this month. Her autobiography was at the top of my list as I wanted to find out more about her relentless drive towards education for all. I was thoroughly expecting to be overwhelmed by the book but, for me, it just fell a bit flat.

I put this down to the co-author, Christina Lamb. I'm not sure how much input she had in the writing of the book but it's difficult to write an autobiography that is not your own. No matter how much somebody describes an experience to you, you will not be able to convey it as they wish. This is the real problem and it causes a noticeable disconnect between the words and the emotions behind them.
There was also some confusion as I read it, as there were all sorts of names and abbreviations thrown out without any context to help remember them. When I reached the end, I did discover a glossary. I suppose it is my own fault for not having the common sense to check for one, but I did get confused about what was what and found myself just glossing past these important details. 

Having said that, I found a lot of aspects really interesting. It was fascinating to hear about Pakistan's history, and I'd like to read up more on this in the future. It's clear from the retelling of Malala's life that her father political activism has had a huge impact on her own campaigning, and the closeness of their relationship is very touching.
I still admire Malala as much as I did before, but I just found that this book didn't capture the power and strength of her campaigning. It felt rushed to be published whilst she was still in the news, rather than waiting a few years for her own writing to develop. Although hers is a very important tale to tell, perhaps now just wasn't the right time. 


  1. That's a shame, this could have been such an excellent book. Have you read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi? If you're not familiar with it, it's a graphic novel (later a film) about a young girl growing up during the Iranian revolution. The sequel isn't quite as good (you can get an edition that has both stories). But it does have more focus on the author/main character's fight for a decent education and women's rights in general.

    1. I haven't read it but it sounds great! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation :)


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