As I’ve previously mentioned, one of my goals with my word of the year “purpose” is to read more this year. Turn off the TV, get off my phone and social media and just sit and read. I can read basic fluff or I can read books of substance, but I just want to read. My first book for 2017 is actually the first book for my book club – I Am Malala – The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. My book club met to discuss this book last night and we really had a great discussion about it.
Malala is a teenage girl from Pakistan, her father was instrumental in starting up and running schools that allowed girls to attend – something that was against Pakistani culture and something that the Taliban most definitely sought to destroy. Malala is an extremely intelligent young woman and worked hard to earn her right to an education, but ultimately it led to her being shot in the head by the Taliban. She miraculously survived and now shares her story, continues to fight for women’s rights and for peace.
Her story is amazing and captivating, but I will say the book is quite slow to get started. The prologue sucks you in immediately as she recounts everything that happened the day she was shot, but then chapter one she starts in on the history of Pakistan and her family – things that I do feel are important for the reader to understand her background and culture, but for me there were so many details I found myself stuck several times. The latter portion of the book picks up steam so once I got there it was a little easier to read.
At book club we discussed a few things, the first being the guilt you feel as you read this story thinking about how easy we have it here in America and how lucky we are as women that we could be educated. Another thing we talked about is how we would react in the same shoes. Most of us agreed that at age 15 (the age she was when she was shot) we were all pretty self centered. It’s hard to imagine being in her shoes. It’s even a little uncomfortable to think about, but I’m glad this book challenged us to do so.
Finally we had a little segue talking about strong woman and who we thought was the most important American woman in our history and also what we thought the most important invention that helps women is. Names we discussed were Susan B Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama and even a couple of celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah. Inventions we talked about were birth control, feminine products and health tests such as mammograms. It was interesting to hear a few different perspectives on what we each thought about each thing.
Overall I’m glad I read the book, it is not one I would have likely chose on my own and it was a worthwhile read. But now after such a heavy book before I dive into my next book club book I’m enjoying the fluff of Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody!