Malala Please Meet Elizabeth Smart

2014 January 12

A double Book Review

I’ve been on quite a strange religion kick lately.

I stumbled into creating a 4 part series sharing and discussing the similarities and differences between the LDS and Islamic Faiths. Plus we just plain talked about life as a Mormon Mom and my friend Amanda talked about being a Muslim Mom.

So it’s probably no big surprise that I was drawn to a couple recent bestselling books:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

review of Malala BookBy a 15 year old girl Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Malala grew up in a remote Pakistani town and she tells her personal story in a moving way. She helps you see and feel and sometimes even smell what her life in Swat was like.

I have to admit, after learning so much about the Muslim faith through my friend Amanda I was able to read this book without religious bias over my eyes. Malala (like my friend Amanda) loves her religion. She loves her family and although forced to leave, she loves her country and her family’s homeland.

Malala was shot simply because she wanted to go to school. She was shot by people who falsely use religion as a shield and a reason to do whatever they want to do. She was shot by people who do not follow the same religion she does although they profess with their mouths that they do.

Above all her story reminds me that people are not perfect. And no one Religion is to blame for anything. People chose to be evil and that’s all there is to it.

I would really like my own daughters to read this book. And to catch a tiny glimse into a completely different world than we live in. To see the world as another young girl see it. I realize there is horror in her stories, but there is also hope and faith and light and just… honestly a beautiful story.

I want my daughters to catch the same glimpse of understanding I got as I read about this young girl’s struggle to simply learn for them to compare to their own lives the way they get on a bus every day and have no fear or struggle. Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize!

Please watch some of this video that went viral of Malala talking to Jon Stewart

{ watch at least from 4.5 minutes to the 5.5 minute point, it’s very sweet, you’ll be impressed!)

And then a few weeks later I read:

The Elizabeth Smart Story: My Story

By Elizabeth Smart and Chris Young

elizabeth smart My Story bookElizabeth Smart was kidnapped over 10 years ago and survived a brutal and horrible 9 months at the hand of a maniacal man and his wife.

Like most of America I was captivated by her story but I was so horrified by it all that I stayed away from the details as much as I could. Plus there is the added connection that Elizabeth was a young LDS girl living in Salt Lake City. And her captor was a crazed religious fanatic who falsely used religion as a shield and reason to do whatever he wanted to do.

Are you detecting a theme here?

Like I said I’m in a religious kick and the two books while having almost nothing in common as far as content and story… also had a lot of similarities.

Both authors were young girls when their tragedy happened. Both authors are fervent believers in their respective faiths. One Muslim, one Mormon.  Both girls could be described as somewhat shielded from the world living in a loving and happy family. Both girls were traumatized by people who use Religion as a means to an evil end. Both girls survived their trials and pains with a surprising dignity and strength I don’t think I could find as an adult much less as a young girl! And finally both girls emerged from their specific ordeal intact and able to move on with their lives.

I’m sure no one would say they are better off for having gone through these awful circumstances, but I would bet both girls would tell you they are strengthened and feel a stronger love for their higher power.

I will not be encouraging my daughters to read the Elizabeth Smart book just yet. She does a masterful job at sharing the nightmare of her 9 month kidnapping and she is careful about not being overly graphic with the details. But I cringed at how many times she was repeatedly raped and just how truly evil that man was. I just can’t let my girls read it yet. But I would suggest anyone older than 18 definitely read this.

While I was reading My Story, I had a really hard time sleeping at night; I had nightmares even. I had to stop reading near my bedtime! And after about 4 or 5 days I finally had to sit down and just finish the whole book right then, because I kept feeling like I was leaving her out there! I couldn’t leave her with those horrible people for another day. I had to get her home.

There were so many details of her kidnapping that I had no idea about. I’m glad I read her story and I’m amazed at her character and ability to grow up and live her life! But if they make a movie there is no way I could watch it. I have daughters and I cannot imagine what her parents went through. I don’t want to see it on a screen. Reading it was hard enough.

Watch a documentary about her story as well:

{At 10.5 minutes in the video they show the mountain ‘camp’ where she was held captive for months just a few miles from her home…}

Please note: there are Amazon Affiliate Links in this post.

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