I read this for the Las Vegas Non-Fiction book group. I had heard a lot about it so my expectations were quite high. I think in hindsight I was expecting rather a lot from an autobiography of a teenaged girl.
Malala grew up in Pakistan, and tells the story of her life. We learn about the area she grew up in, and her local customs and cultures. She also give us a brief recent history of her country and an introduction to the Taliban. It would be interesting for anyone who knows nothing at all about this region of the world or about the Taliban and what the organisation does.
I cannot help but compare it to Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, which has the benefit of being written by adult. This book also discusses what radical Islamic morality groups can do to the rights of women, but goes in to much more detail.
As anyone who has watched the news will know, Malala got shot in the head for her public campaigning for the rights of girls to have an education in her country. She is a pretty amazing girl with admirable ambitions. Her parents are a little harder to understand – how anyone can put their twelve year old daughter in the spotlight in a culture of suicide bombers and “honour” murders is beyond me. Apparently her mother had feared that her actions may have made her a target but they seemed to me to be putting their daughter in great danger.
Through shear luck (and a little help from the British who made a mess of her country n the first place) she survived the shooting, and I hope she goes on to achieve all she wants to. What a woman.