Review of 'Let Her Fly: A Father's Journey and the Fight for Equality'

Let Her Fly: A Father's Journey and the Fight for Equality by Ziauddin Yousafzai

let_her_fly.jpg This short novel by Ziauddin, the father of Malala Yousafzai, the woman who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban as a child for standing up for the rights of girls to an education, shares his side of the story. “Let Her Fly” starts with Ziauddin's early life with a strong belief in societal equality despite a traditional upbringing, then founding a school in the Pakistan's Swat Valley all the way up to their moving to Birmingham, England following the shooting of his daughter. Throughout the entire story he reiterates his unflinching belief in child, specifically, girl's education in fighting injustice, a belief that he instilled onto his family from an early stage and a mantle that Malala has completely picked up. In this he makes no apologies.

This book brings us up to date (as of 2018) on the story of Malala following the biography I am Malala in 2013, and the film He Named Me Malala in 2015. I attended the launch of this book at Ziauddin & Malala Yousafzai In Conversation at which the entire Yousafzai family were on stage to discuss their lives. Their lives are unequivocally concentrated around Malala and the dramatic events that have brought their battle for equality into the public consciousness. It seems the entire family completely support Malala in her efforts though Ziauddin does talk about the rest of the family including his “arranged love marriage” with “Toor Pekai”. Toor is more traditional in her beliefs but unequivocally supports her husband though still has no formal education and (at time of writing) struggles to learn English. Her two younger sons, Khushal and Aral, also get a mention with Ziauddin's attempt to reach them despite their distraction by the trappings of the west. It is apparent they have struggled to adapt to their new lives in England. Here there is also the moving story of their return to their house in Pakistan, bringing the story full circle.

“Let Her Fly” seems more like a memoir than biography and the narrative returning again and again to the theme of educational equality only reluctantly returning, it seems, to telling his story. This does make this rather short book a bit slow to read as it seems to repeat itself over and over again though it does nicely bring the reader “up to date” with the story as well as providing an interesting context to this fascinating father-daughter dynamic.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-06-05

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: WH Allen

Publication Date: 2018

ISBN: 9780753552964