Once upon a time, you stumble upon a book and you instantly know you want to read it, even though it does not fit your usual genre. This was the case for me with Let Her Fly by Ziauddin Yousafzai. I have been following Malala’s work since I read her book in 2014. I even wrote a Dutch article on her book last year. Well, on to her father’s book now, which has been co-written by Louise Carpenter. I stepped out of my Young Adult (fantasy) and New Adult bubble to read this book and I am stepping even more out of my comfort zone by reviewing a non-fiction book.Let Her Fly: A Father's Journey by Ziauddin Yousafzai, Louise Carpenter, Malala Yousafzai
Published by WH Allen on November 8, 2018
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***Guardian pick as one of the biggest and most interesting books of the year ***The story of the father who inspired the phenomenon
For over twenty years, Ziauddin Yousafsai has been fighting for equality – first for Malala, his daughter – and then for all girls throughout the world living in patriarchal societies. Taught as a young boy in Pakistan to believe that he was inherently better than his sisters, Ziauddin rebelled against inequality at a young age. And when he had a daughter himself he vowed that Malala would have an education, something usually only given to boys, and he founded a school that Malala could attend.
Then in 2012, Malala was shot for standing up to the Taliban by continuing to go to her father's school, and Ziauddin almost lost the very person for whom his fight for equality began.
What Love Teaches Me is Ziauddin’s journey from a stammering boy growing up in a tiny village high in the mountains of Pakistan, through to being an activist for equality and the father of the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and now one of the most influential and inspiring young women on the planet.
Told through intimate portraits of each of Ziauddin’s closest relationships – as a son to a traditional father; as a father to Malala and her brothers, educated and growing up in the West; as a husband to a wife finally learning to read and write; as a brother to five sisters still living in the patriarchy – What Love Teaches Me looks at what it means to love, to have courage and fight for what is inherently right. Personal in its detail and universal in its themes, this is a landmark book from the man behind the phenomenon, and shows why we must all keep fighting for the rights of girls and women around the world.
To be quite honest, my expectations for Let Her Fly were quite high and not without reason. I knew that this story would be interesting and important. Furthermore, I knew that everyone is able to learn from this wise man and his journey/story. I only wondered whether this book would surpass my usual three star rating for non-fiction. Spoiler: it did.
Since Let Her Fly is non-fiction, there is not much to analyse about storyline, plot development, character development and world building. However, I can honestly say that this book was a fast-paced, well-written and interesting read. Thank goodness it was not dwelling and heavy, because that is exactly what usually keeps me far far away from reading non-fiction.
No, Let Her Fly is a book that will indirectly educate you about equality (between men and women, and about equal rights and treatment for women) and diversity, but in such a way that it doesn’t sound like you are being educated. I hope that this makes any sense, but I assume you guys understand what I mean. Ziauddin Yousafzai – and therefore Louise Carpenter – has such an interesting way of telling his story. Before I knew it I was more than halfway through the book and really had to put it down because I really had to leave. I finished this book in two sittings, because it was too interesting and hard to put down. And what about the laughs in this story, are they present? Oh definitely. There were times that I nearly burst out laughing whilst reading. I will spoiler one paragraph for you: the Burito/Burita one. In fact, I’m chuckling again whilst writing this. I won’t spoiler more for you guys, because I think it is save to say that you should read this book. Yes, this is a – very rare – five star non-fiction book.
Dutch readers: I honestly have no clue whether this book will be translated, but this book is not too dificult to read in English.
Did you plan to buy/read Let Her Fly beforehand or are you planning to do so after reading this review?