Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nonfiction November Week 4: Read-Along Discussion

Week 4 of Nonfiction has come and almost gone….and I’m way behind with my post. I DID have a great Thanksgiving though. This week we’ll be wrapping up Nonfiction November with a discussion of our read-along book, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. Discussion questions were posted Monday by Katie at Doing Dewey. Here are more responses.

1. What did you think of the tone and style in which I Am Malala was written?
I found the writing choppy at times. Sometimes she came off as a little immature; not entirely unexpected since she was still a child during the events of the book. But otehr times she seemed to be explaining events with the outlook of an adult and I almost felt as she was parroting words of another. I also felt like at times she was a little too willing to pat herself on the back as in ‘good job’. I almost hesitate to say this, but I do realize what she did is remarkable, however, at times the lack of humility was off-putting to me.

2. What did you think of the political commentary in the book?
I questioned it at times, wondering how much of it was really happening the way she stated. Again I had to wonder about the understanding of a child at the time many of these events took place. I felt either someone else had told her how to interpret the events of the world, or that perhaps she’d gone back and read — quite a bit — about the events that took place at that time. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with her viewpoint, and I’m not agreeing with it either, but I do have to wonder how much she knew about world events at that particular time, and whose thoughts were coloring her interpretation.

3. Did anything particularly surprise you about Malala’s daily life or culture?
I don’t think I was really terribly surprised. I’ve read quite a bit, both fiction and nonfiction, about the Pashtun culture and the culture women face. If anything, I guess I was surprised at how much freedom Malala seemed to have from the constraints of her culture. I’m sure that was because of her father’s willingness to support her instead of enforcing the cultural restraints.

4. Do you think you would act similarly to Malala in her situation? If you were her parents, would you let her continue to be an activist despite possible danger?
I’m really not sure what I’d do. I suspect I would be more cowardly and go with the flow. And perhaps, if I didn’t really know better, I may not even miss the freedoms of the modern world. However, having been exposed to the ‘real’ world, I’m sure I’d chafe and moan, but I don’t know if I’d be willing to risk my life. To be fair though, Malala states that she never felt she was risking her life, either. She expected her father might be attacked, but she didn’t not expect a child to be attacked. (I’m not sure why, because it didn’t surprise me!) As her parent, I am 100% sure I would do everything possible to keep my child safe, including leaving the area with her the first time trouble started. I would never EVER have come back!

5. What did you think of the book overall?
Though at times certain things in the book annoyed me, as I mentioned above, I’m glad I read the book. In some ways though, it felt more like a publisher decision to get a book out now. I kind of wish they would have waited a few years. I would have liked to have seen what happens to Malala as she matures into adulthood. Will she continue to speak out? Will she become more ‘western’ or will she return to her homeland? If she does, will she become the politician she dreams of becoming, and will she continue to try to change her world even though it puts her life in danger?
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  1. I was reading this book during the weekend of the Paris shootings, so I immediately paid more attention to the history of the Taliban in Swat. Fascinating how they did more for the people after the earthquake and flood than the government. I too felt uneasy about some of her observations, but then it could be because most of the book was ghost written. Overall I enjoyed the book and felt it was a worthwhile read.

  2. I completely agree with your answers to 1 and 2! I feel as though you said exactly what I was thinking better than I could have. Like you, I don't necessarily disagree with her political opinions, but I'm sceptical that they're all hers.