This is a memoir of a teenage Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai co-written by a 49 year British author, Christina Lamb. A very inspiring and simple read; I would like to recommend all the readers age 10+ to read this book; meant for both young and old readers alike.
It is indeed wonderful to read about the youngest Noble Prize winner and how her life has been an epitome of struggle against the wrongs of the society. This book also throws a very non-judgemental insight into the sorry plight of the common man in Pakistan and their dilapidated education system. Not only the historical facts taught in school are politically distorted and factually incorrect but also very religiously inked. This kind of influence right from the childhood is a significant instrument in shaping the mentality of the people in Pakistan. This book very fluidly shows us that how the seeds of ‘misplaced’ hatred sowed in the minds of people can lead the nation into mental and intellectual drought. The objective and unbiased way in which this book talks about the complex relationship of Pakistani army, ISI, Taliban and USA is commendable.
It raises a lot of speculation on the birth of Taliban, the competence and integrity of Pakistan army, Talibanisation of Islam, and the dismal state of Pakistan. There is a very interesting perspective on Page number 186, where Malala wonders if the news of Jinnah having Tuberculosis, made public, would have deflected the partition of India and Pakistan.
The narrative is on a very inspiring and innocent note. It is remarkable to see a combination of empathy, maturity and courage at such a tender age. Malala’s innocent tone with Christina’s mature narrative renders this book very captivating. In short, this fast paced book portrays a non-biased history and political scenario surrounding Taliban.
Here are just a few (of the numerous) insightful lines from the book:
· “It was wonderful that my friends wanted to share in my success. I knew that any of the girls in my class could have achieved what I had achieved if they had had their parents’ support.”
· “Children in the refugee camps were given school text books produced by an American university that taught basic arithmetic through fighting.”
· “If Christians, Hindus or Jews are really our enemies, as so many say, why are we Muslims fighting with each other.”
· “I am in a country which is five hours behind my beloved homeland Pakistan and my home in the Swat Valley. But my country is centuries behind this one””
· “The Taliban could take our pens and books but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.”“Kindness can only be repaid with kindness. It can’t be repaid with expressions like ‘Thank you’ and then forgotton.”