Quick Review: I Am Malala and Life After Life

These two books are about living, about life, about living your life to make a change.

  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
    • Rating: ★★★ [ratings guide]
    • Gives a lot of background and historical context to Malala’s father and her fight for the right to education.
    • I suppose somewhere in the cynical side of the world, people accuse Malala’s father of using her as a prop and they would dismiss this book as furthering her role of mouthpiece? But, I think if you read this you’ll realize she’s just a girl who wants to go to school. There’s nothing terrible about that. 
    •  It’s hard to put my finger on what, but I felt something was missing from the story. I think I wanted to read even more about Malala and her opinions on education. There is a lot of history and ‘this is what happened’, which is very informative and interesting to read, but I thought I would get more of a ‘Malala manifesto’. That being said, still give this book a go if you’re interested in the topic or Malala herself!
    • A good introduction to the struggles girls face in pursuing education in Pakistan.
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    • Rating: ★★ [ratings guide]
    • I kept reading at the start because, even though it felt slow to me, I thought I liked Sylvie (hahaha, Silly Reno).
    • I liked the earlier part of the book much more than anything else. There were some poignant parts – for example, when Ursula falls out of the window trying to fetch her doll. That part really hit home for me.
    • The whole does she or doesn’t she remember her pasts lives was a bit weird for me. It seems she has some vague feelings about what happened before? The flu scenario starts to show this (I liked how getting past the flu proved difficult). 
    • Every now and then the story skips ahead to Ursula’s life in Germany. Most of them these ‘flashfowrds’ felt abrupt and disconnected (123, 206).
    • The one tragic lifetime that Ursula experiences, where she wants to die but doesn’t (and ooh, here’s where I realized Sylvie’s quite terrible [209]) was very sad, as you realize many women have found themselves in her position. When she finally broke out of that loop I felt immensely relieved (232).
      • This is where I felt the book should have ended…I felt very disheartened when I realized I was only halfway. 
    • I became bored after 250 pages and skimmed the last 200 (although a certain character’s death did, okay, make me pretty sad).
    • Around 355, my stream of consciousness was: okay what why Germany then why hanging around how did you get here in the first place again. The Germany parts of the story just felt so disjointed to me. It’s supposed to be the main part, I think, but it felt like excess to me.
    • Overall , Life After Life was a disappointing and uninteresting read. The main plot is woven in strangely and doesn’t seem very important, or integral, or clear.

  • i might try the Malala book. Or, maybe, wait for her next one. I hope she's a figure on the world stage for many years to come.

  • Ooh, yes, I wonder what sort of book she might write five or ten years from now (as an adult in perhaps a very different world).