I Am Malala – book club


I Am Malala: 
The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
 with Christina Lamb
Release Date:  October 8, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Number of Pages:  352
Kindle edition
Source:  MCL
Rating:  PG
Read 9/22/18 to 10/20/18

Can I be honest here and say I’m actually pretty impressed with myself that I am posting my book club recap when I said I was going to post it.  It’s the little things that keep me motivated!

I have always been fascinated with Malala Yousafzai’s story from what I’ve seen in the media.  Back in February 2017 I read a children’s book, Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, about this brave young woman and realized I needed to put this book on my TBR list.  Still, I never got around to reading her story in her words.  So I’m thankful to Tina for making this one her book club pick this month. 

Unless you’re under the age of about 20, you most likely know who Malala is, even if it’s in the same sense you know who Sitting Bull was or Sacagawea or Cleopatra.  Important people in world history that you know the basics, but unless you’re a history buff you may not know all the nitty-gritty.  It actually came as quite a surprise to me that Malala was (I use past tense here because, for all intents and purposes, her life has drastically changed) a very normal young lady with a very average upbringing in many ways.  She fought with her younger brothers, got mad at her mom, worried about what her peers thought of her looks, giggled and fought and confided secrets with her best friend.  The difference with Malala is she has a father who was always very supportive and very vocal about the state of the government himself.  He encouraged his children to speak their minds.  That is something not even all children in the western world have at home, let alone those in areas that are predominantly run by men.

I really encourage everyone to read this story.  Other than the story of Malala, I learned so much about how Pakistan came to be and how the Taliban came to Pakistan.  There are so many things I thought I knew that I had slightly wrong, and things I didn’t know at all.  It always amazes me what a ripple effect things have on one another.

It struck me, at the end of this story, how many things had to align for Malala to get the outcome she had.  If she hadn’t already been a known name she would have never had the medical attention and recovery she ended up having access to.  I don’t think she takes that for granted.  I believe she and her family realize that, although they had to give up the only home any of them knew, she would not still be there with them if not for her low-key celebrity status.  Since the shooting, her profile has become quite high-profile so that still keeps her from her home country.  It seems to me that although they miss their Swat Valley something fierce, they all realize that they can make a difference in this world because of the sacrifices they had to make.

4 stars

We were two people short at book club this time.  Liz ran the Detroit Free Press half marathon the day of our meeting and Linda had a grandson’s birthday party that got moved to coincide with our book club. We were still able to have some great discussions.  And great food!  Tina made some delicious vegetarian chili and potato/cauliflower soup so we’d have choices, but I had some of each.  Plus cheese, crackers, fruit, spinach dip with veggies for dipping, and various other yummy finger food.  Then, to top it all off, she had some Erma’s Frozen Custard pumpkin custard for dessert.  Yummy!

Everyone seemed to be happy about Tina’s book club pick.  We all agreed that we learned a lot about Pakistan and how the Taliban came about.  Things we thought we knew were often wrong and there was so much none of us knew.  Especially Tina, who was just still in high school in the late 90s and early aughts.  Lynne, on more than one occasion, mentioned how bright Malala is and always was.  The things she did, even before she started getting recognition for her speeches and ideas.  Of course, we all agreed.

Another thing we all agreed on is that this is an important story.  Not so much Malala’s personal story, but the story of Pakistan and the Muslim community as a whole.  Not just the radicals that get the attention, but the real Muslim faith of love and patience and tolerance.

Well, guys and gals, I’m next.  Although it’s pretty far away, we decided on January for our next book club.  It’s all but impossible to get everyone together once it gets too close to Thanksgiving.  In order to give everyone time to read the next selection, we would be hitting just about on Thanksgiving weekend so we decided to fast-forward to after the holidays. I’ll update you on the exact date once I pin it down.

I’m also kind of cheating.  I’ve really wanted to have a discussion about the book Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed since I read it over a year ago.  With the nature of today’s society, I decided it would be a great time to revisit this book and introduce my book club to the amazing story.  If you haven’t read it yet, please do so now.  I think you’ll love it and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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