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Biography Group Read, 4th Quarter: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb, General Discussion

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1luvamystery65
Edited: Sep 27, 2014, 6:00pm Top



Our book for the 4th quarter (October-December) is I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

2luvamystery65
Edited: Sep 27, 2014, 5:59pm Top

This thread is for general discussion. For spoilers and and more detailed discussion please go to the spoiler thread here, https://www.librarything.com/topic/180968

3MarthaJeanne
Sep 26, 2014, 12:01pm Top

I'll jump in here to say that according to Book Depository a cheap paperback edition is coming out in London on October 9. In the meantime my library has a copy in English that is due on Wednesday, and I have it reserved, so with any luck I get it faster and cheaper that way.

4lindapanzo
Oct 1, 2014, 12:29pm Top

I picked up a Kindle copy from my local public library just now. I've got it for 3 weeks and hope I'll get to it soon. Amazon says it's 289 pages. Not too long.

5LittleTaiko
Oct 1, 2014, 2:21pm Top

Just picked this up from my library this past weekend as I'm supposed to read it for one of my book clubs that is meeting later this month. Should have it read in a couple of weeks.

6aliciamay
Oct 8, 2014, 6:57pm Top

In a rare instance of planning last month I put a hold on the audio version (and then promptly forgot about it). Now it is available to me, but I have 2.5 other books to read first before the library reclaims them. Good thing this is a quarterly read!

7luvamystery65
Oct 9, 2014, 9:42am Top

>3 MarthaJeanne: I hope you got the book from the library.

>4 lindapanzo: It's not long at all. I borrowed a copy from the library to check out the photos and see if I would read it this month. I've decided to wait until late Nov or early Dec to read it and count towards my AlphaKIT.

>5 LittleTaiko: This books sounds like it is perfect for book club.

>6 aliciamay: I hope it works out for you. If not, there is plenty of time to re-request it.

8MarthaJeanne
Edited: Oct 9, 2014, 12:33pm Top

The person who had it out did not return it by its due date, so I've been a bit figitty about it, but I just got the notification that it is waiting for me.

To self, 'I do not need to hurry to the library tomorrow. I can wait until Monday. I do not need to hurry to the library tomorrow. Monday is really soon enough. No, I really don't need to pick it up tomorrow ...' (It's way the other side of the city, and I go every Monday, anyway. I currently have 24 books out, three of which I am actively reading, and by Monday will have finished.) And with any luck another one of my reserved books may show up.

9LittleTaiko
Oct 10, 2014, 10:37am Top

What a timely group read with Malala winning the Nobel Peace Prize today!

10luvamystery65
Oct 10, 2014, 10:52am Top

>9 LittleTaiko: Very exciting news!

11mamzel
Oct 10, 2014, 11:11am Top

She was nominated last year and didn't get it. I'm glad she got it this year.

12luvamystery65
Oct 10, 2014, 11:20am Top

>11 mamzel: I know you read her biography last year and loved it. Please contribute on the spoiler thread when that conversation gets started.

13streamsong
Oct 10, 2014, 11:23am Top

I saw an interview with her on PBS earlier this year. She was very well-spoken and mature beyond her years. I was quite impressed with her. I'm planning to listen to the audiobook, but it won't be until November.

14mamzel
Oct 10, 2014, 12:37pm Top

>12 luvamystery65: I actually started it and checked it out to a student before I finished it. I just looked and the copy I had started still has my sticky note marking my page so I can continue with it. The opening introduction blew me away. The story is interesting even if the writing isn't as compelling as it could be.

15MarthaJeanne
Oct 13, 2014, 4:48pm Top

This is my Malala day! I picked the book up at the library and started to read. I am so impressed! The television also showed a piece about her this evening. Besides a bit of history, it showed her working with another young woman in a refugee camp in Jordan to convince children and their parents that education is important.

She doesn't act or talk like the 17 year olds I know.

16mamzel
Oct 14, 2014, 11:58am Top

I think we are so totally amazing that we were far sighted enough to schedule this book to coincide with her winning the Nobel!!

17LittleTaiko
Oct 14, 2014, 12:33pm Top

I finished the book over the weekend - while not the strongest writing it still makes for a very compelling story.

18mamzel
Oct 17, 2014, 5:56pm Top

I finally got back into it and thanks to a couple of quiet days here in my library, was able to finish it. I so agree about the writing. It's very choppy and quickly jumps from one topic to another, mixing her own memories and experiences with the history of the area and the Taliban. One anecdote she shared rather surprised me (and I am not a religious person). She overheard a Pakistani Christian come back to a comment by a mullah who said she should convert to Islam. She commented that Christ died for his people and she asked what Mohammed had done for his.

If you would like to hear her speak, I recommend you watch her appearance on the Daily Show. Stewart wanted to adopt her.

Even if you aren't going to read the book, I suggest you at least read the prologue.

19MarthaJeanne
Edited: Oct 19, 2014, 11:23am Top

I really enjoyed reading this. I only wish I were able to write this well in my first language. Remember, this is written by a 16-year-old, and in a language that is, at best, her third language. Pashtan, Urdu, English, some Arabic...

Yes, she had help, but her voice predominates except in the section about what happened while she was in a coma. And that part, although interesting and necessary for continuity, isn't as riveting as the rest of it.

Yes, she does keep refering to the history and geography of her people. Living in Birmingham now, she is aware of how different western cities are from her valley, and she works hard to get her readers to understand her culture.

She is a very impressive young woman.

20Helenliz
Oct 25, 2014, 5:20am Top

I've finished this just now. It is a book I'd recommend because of it's message, rather than because of the quality of its writing. It jumps about a quite bit, is not always logically structured, at times goes into details about small things, then skips over the surface of others. It sounds like what it is, something written by a teenager. That's not to say it is not worth reading, because the message is important.

21streamsong
Edited: Nov 13, 2014, 10:03am Top

This book is working really well for me as an audiobook. Sometimes audios smooth out the choppiness and let me plow through and over detailed sections. In my opinion, this is the perfect book to listen to as it also makes the speech patterns and rhythms come alive.

At one point Malala mentions 'ghost schools' - schools where money had been given by aid agencies and pocketed by corrupt local officials so that only a small shack was built that was never run as a school. I can't help but wonder if this describes some of what happened to Greg Mortenson's schools as I remember some of them being described as storage sheds and never used as a school. I have not read Jon Krakauer's book Three Cups of Deceit, but I wonder if Mortenson was the deceived as much as the deceiver. I think I'll have to put that one on my wish list.

As a parent, I wonder if I would have had the courage to allow my daughter to do the things she did - the blog, interviews - all the things that set her firmly in the Taliban's sights. She was following the footsteps of her father and her father was rightly very proud of her intelligence and courage. The book is making me consider the line between a parent's duty to protect and to support and encourage.

22MarthaJeanne
Nov 13, 2014, 10:58am Top

I remember a sinking feeling fighting pride when my son came home from his second day at a new school indignant at the way a classmate was being treated because of being different. The two of them were best friends for several years until life took them in very different directions.

Not to compare with Malala of course, but yes, sometimes we have to support our children doing the right thing, even when we see the disadvantages that could come of it.

23streamsong
Nov 13, 2014, 11:03am Top

>22 MarthaJeanne: Although I strongly agree with that sentiment, a child risking death is a bit more than being a disadvantage.

24MarthaJeanne
Nov 13, 2014, 11:48am Top

On the other hand she was already at risk by being part of that family, and by being a girl in school, or even just living in that town. If she hadn't been outspoken she might not have been shot at, but then again... And if she hadn't been well known she would not have been flown to England in a sheik's private hospital plane. The friend who was also wounded in that attack is still in Pakistan.

Children, boys and girls, are being attacked frequently just for going to school in various places. The recent attacks in Nigeria, for example. So what do parents do when there are groups who would rather see the children dead than educated?

At least the risk is in the cause of trying to create a better future for the children.

25streamsong
Nov 15, 2014, 11:22am Top

I haven't actually gotten to the point where she is shot or the aftermath. It's a bit like watching someone blowing up a balloon and knowing it will explode.

And I know children take part in adult-risk situations all the time. I can remember the photos of the desegregation of the American South in the 1960's with kids surrounded by hate filled adults.

But I am one who sees Gavroche rallying the men on the barricade, and I long to stuff a sock in his mouth and see him get a chance to grow up before taking on the task of saving the world.

I think it's a different answer for every parent and there isn't a wrong answer to the question "Is this battle worth my child's life?"

26cbl_tn
Nov 30, 2014, 8:18pm Top

I finished the book last night. I was impressed with Malala's maturity, and with her willingness to reveal some of her flaws as well as her many successes.

27luvamystery65
Dec 7, 2014, 11:32am Top

I have finished Malala's book. Here is my mini review.

I loved I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. What a powerful story of a girl that was raised in a culture that diminishes the potential of women. Her father was born a man of humble means but when he had a daughter for his first born he cherished her and shared his love of education with her. Her love of her homeland comes through as well as the adoration she has for her father. What child would not love a father that treats her as gem? What hard choices they made as family to risk death for championing education for not only girls but for poor children as well. Is this the best written autobiography? No, but her point comes across and her story MUST be told.

I am so happy she won the Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi. I was happy to hear that she did not seek asylum in the UK but lives there for her safety. It is important to her to return to the Swat Valley one day. Google the images. I hope she is able to realize this dream.

Now to everyone's comments.

28luvamystery65
Dec 7, 2014, 11:53am Top

I just typed up a whole long response to all the comments and they erased before I posted! Aaack!!! Let me try this again.

>13 streamsong: Malala is very well spoken. I love her youthful enthusiasm and as she gets more polished I will miss that.

>14 mamzel: Yes, the introduction is very good. As I said, her story must be told.

>15 MarthaJeanne: She mentions in the book when she turned 15 that she was considered an adult.

>16 mamzel: & >17 LittleTaiko: Yes

29luvamystery65
Dec 7, 2014, 11:57am Top

>18 mamzel: I like that Malala says what she thinks even if you disagree with her. It is rare that someone can leave Jon Stewart speechless.

>19 MarthaJeanne: & >20 Helenliz: I agree

>21 streamsong: First, I wonder about the deception she talks about too because in Pakistan they are now accusing her and the Malala Fund of the same corruption. It is in the Taliban and certain political factions interest to discredit her and her family. Now I wonder about the other incident you state. I have not read the book but only read articles about it.

30luvamystery65
Dec 7, 2014, 12:01pm Top

>21 streamsong: Second section of your comment through >25 streamsong: Great discussion! I don't have any children so I cannot share that POV from a parent's perspective. I can only imagine. What impressed me is that although they knew the danger as a family, they continued to allow Malala to go to school. Even her mother had begun to go to school. When she was shot, her father blamed himself but she and her mother did not place blame on him.

>26 cbl_tn: I also was impressed that Malala was very forthcoming with her faults and flaws. Her competitiveness is fierce and she has everyday squabbles with her friends. All of these girls are/were so very brave to defy the Taliban.

31sallylou61
Edited: Dec 8, 2014, 11:35am Top

I found the beginning of the book rather slow reading about the background history of Malala's family before she was born. However, I was very favorably impressed with her story of her own life. She certainly points out the status of women in Pakistan and the problems of the poor and illiterate of both sexes in the society there . It is amazing that her father married an illiterate woman, and that her mother gave her so much support. I had not been aware of how much she had spoken out for girls' education prior to the Taliban's attack on her.

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