Batch review: young voices

It’s been a while since we’ve done a batch review but I keep reading books and have been doing an appalling job of keeping up with blog content. So here we are.

This time we’re going to chat about books written by young women. Well, I’m going to ramble on about them and then hopefully you leave some thoughts?

The first is The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This is a favourite of Chelsey’s @ Chels and a Book. This book is a collection of short stories and essays written by the incredibly talented Marina Keegan, who was killed in a car accident just five days after graduating from college.

The fact that this talented voice was taken away just as she was getting started lends the entire collection a tragic air. But, as her professor Anne Fadiman (who was instrumental in putting this collection together) writes “Marina wouldn’t want to be remembered because she’s dead. She would want to be remembered because she’s good.”

And she is. SO GOOD. Hers was a voice that already knew who she was as a writer. She was able to write as a 20 year old and as someone who was at the end of their life. She wrote with passion and clarity, heart and humour. She had such a wry understanding of the world and of her own place in it and it is an incredible loss that none of us will ever know what else she was capable of.

She was only 22 but her writing had polish and reading her work is an exercise in joy.

On the other side of the spectrum is a young woman whose life was very nearly ended by extremists who didn’t believe women and girls should receive an education. She now works tirelessly to ensure that all women and girls are afforded the opportunity to learn.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban tells Malala Yousafzai’s story (with the help of Christine Lamb).

I think I was expecting more of the story of the aftermath of the shooting and her life now. But most of the book talks about her life before the shooting that changed everything. Malala’s voice is young – where Marina Keegan shows a maturity beyond her years, Malala shows how young she still is. While she has been thrust onto an international stage for what happened to her, she still fights with her brothers, gossips with her girlfriends, has loads of homework and has crushes on Brad Pitt and handsome Pakistani cricket players.

Hers is an important story to read and to know. Malala now does incredibly vital work. She often talks about education and how when all men, women and children can read and write, the world will be a better place. She’s a brave young woman, speaking out against extremists, calling out world leaders for not doing enough. She also displays a heavy homesickness for a country she’s not sure she will ever be allowed to return to.

But she’s also still so young – she only recently turned 18. Her burden is a heavy one, even for a very serious teenager, intent on seeing education be a right for every woman and girl in the world. I admire her immensely but the book wasn’t my favourite. I would be curious to see what a book written by adult Malala would be like, though.

If you don’t have time to read the book, I would recommend the documentary He Named Me Malala.  


5 thoughts on “Batch review: young voices

  1. Oh gosh what a tragic thing to happen to Marina Keegan. I’m getting that straight away. I’m always amazed by prodigious young things, thinking back to how clumsy I was at that age.

    • Isn’t it? It really does make the entire collection so much more poignant. I wish that we could have had more from her – I suspect it would have been great. But I’m glad we still got to hear something from her.

  2. I’m so so so happy you loved Opposite of Loneliness! 🙂 I so wish she was still here, so we could watch her grow into her writing even more. And I seriously need to read Malala! I’ve looked at it a million times but haven’t picked it up yet!

  3. Pingback: A Non-Fiction Retrospective | The Paperback Princess

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