Friday, June 30, 2017

I am Malala Review

I am Malala: The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai

This memoir was written by Malala herself during her teenage years. She writes compellingly of her home Swat Valley in Pakistan, of her culture and most of all her love of school. She illustrates the command that the Taliban had over Pakistan, the control that they had over the lives of Pakistanis and the culture of fear that they created in the country. Very few people were willing to stand against them and speak their minds as the Taliban were harsh in their punishments and did not allow anyone to try to overthrow their dictatorship in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Malala and her father however, were very outspoken on their views of education as a right and that outspokenness is what prompted the Taliban to take action against Malala, by shooting her in the face while she was on a bus home.

The content of the book is alluring enough to attract the attention of anyone, but add to it the fact that the story is told first person by Malala herself and no avid reader would be able to go without reading it at least once. The first chapter is fantastic. She begins her story by detailing as much of the fateful bus ride as she can remember, leading up to being shot at three times, once in the face. When the story starts out with the most tragic event you can imagine happening to a child, I felt pulled in immediately and was averse to putting the book down to go to my own son's birthday party (I did put it down of course, I'm not a completely terrible parent). I could not wait to get home and read more.

The first few chapters seemed to be a mix of different writing styles. On one hand you had the pictorial account of Swat Valley, Malala's family friends and neighbours, her father's trials of opening his own school; but the on the other hand you had very dry accounts of Pakistan's political history. Once I got past the political history of Pakistan and Afghanistan I was able to get into the book again. I really enjoyed reading a first hand account of life in a foreign country as experienced by a child. The difficulties that the people had to overcome as the Taliban took control of their country were terrible, and made me admire their strength and endurance. It was also a whole different view of their country and their people during the 9/11 tragedy. Malala doesn't spend much time talking about her thoughts and opinions of the terrorist attack other than to acknowledge that it happened. I've come to understand that it's because their people were ruled by the same people that initiated the attack on the U.S so they were facing their own points of contention that they were dealing with on a daily basis.

Malala made sure to write about how much education meant to her and how important she thought it was that everyone get as much education as possible, but I felt that her message was a little lost within all the other happenings that she included in her book. I spent more time reading and interested in the actions of the Taliban and the rules that they imposed on Pakistani's than I did reading about her views on education. All in all it was an interesting and educational read but I don't think I took away from it what she had hoped for her readers to.

Final Rating:
✬✬✬✬✫

Probability of Rereading:
No


Thanks for reading!

Opinionated Bookworm

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas Review

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
By James Patterson


May Contain Spoilers!!!

The book, in most part, is a diary written by Suzanne for her son Nicholas about their lives and how she met and fell in love with his father Matt. The diary is read by Katie who was in a relationship with Matt until he broke things off unexpectedly, leaving her heartbroken and confused. He left the diary for her as a way to explain why he had to end their relationship.

The diary portion of the book is beautifully written and Suzanne holds nothing back as she details her life to her son, Nicholas. Suzanne is a beautifully emotional and descriptive writer and I found myself envisioning places and people that she described, and feeling emotions that she herself had gone through. At one point she suffers a devastating loss and I sobbed right along with her as though my heart were breaking too. You can feel her love for her son and her husband as she writes about their experiences and I found myself envying her as she described how happy she was and how amazing and lucky her life was. If the whole novel had have just been her diary entries to her son I probably would have enjoyed the book as a whole more than I did.

However, the other chapters in the book were written from Katie's point of view as she reads the diary and comes to understand more about Matt and why he broke their relationship off. Almost from the beginning I found myself disliking Katie's character so much that I read faster through all of her subsequent chapters so I could get back to Suzanne's diary. Katie comes across as weak and needy as she mourns the loss of a relationship with a man she had only known for 8 months. She is constantly crying and calling her friends and family for emotional support as she is so devastated by Matt leaving her.

In the end when she finishes reading the diary and learns the fate of Suzanne and Nicholas she jumps on a boat and goes to try to find Matt's house on the island in which he lives. When she fails to locate him she goes home, and he then comes to find her by kneeling on the ground outside of her work. Do you see how silly and rushed that last couple of sentences sounded? Because its almost a mirror of the way the book ended. You have a whole book of beautiful and heartfelt diary entries and then the rug is pulled out from under you and the book is done. Just like that. It was a bizarre and very unsatisfying ending to what could have been a very beautiful and tragic story, but for whatever reason, authors usually seem to feel that tragic stories always need happy endings. Except they don't. I was happy for Matt's character that he was able to move on but for him to have found some great, earth shattering true love only two years after losing his whole family felt far fetched and empty.

Final Rating:
★★☆☆☆

Probability of re-reading:
Yes


Feel free to leave your own comments and opinions of the book or my review!

Opinionated Bookworm

Welcome to my blog!

I'm a little nervous, having never done this type of thing before. I mean blogging of course, not reading. I read a lot. Literally. A lot. And I'm a speed reader so I finish most of the books I read within a day or two.
Since summer arrived my family and I have been doing a bit of garage saleing and it's been a great way for me to pick up some new (to me) books. I love finding great books at great prices and am always looking to add some new additions to my bookshelves. Recently I found myself reading a book that I felt as though was slightly familiar. I could always seem to guess as to what was coming but couldn't guess far enough in advance to know how it was going to end. Until I read the end and realized that I had definitely read the book before. I felt ridiculous. As though I had wasted time rereading it, as it was by no means a great book. I have read so many books through the years but my memory is terrible, so this was not my first time finding myself reading a book that I have already read. Especially since I dabble both in physical books and my Kobo. I can usually remember a nice eye catching book cover, but on the Kobo I flip past the black and white photo of the cover so fast I don't even register what it looks like. So I decided to review all the books that I read so I would have an easier way of keeping track of them all. And if my reviews help other people choose new books to read or which books to avoid it's just a bonus! I tend to be pretty opinionated (hence the blog name) so everything I write will be honest and explained, as I also tend to be quite wordy. I will try to post a new review twice a week and I hope any readers find this blog a worthwhile read.

Enjoy!

Opinionated Bookworm

Guilty Pleasures Blog

I was scrolling through my Facebook homepage the other day and came across a post from Goodreads about guilty pleasure reading, and at the e...