Title: Yassmin’s Story: Who do you think I am?
Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Read a free sample here
Sometimes I find myself falling into a rut with the books I choose to read. I often go for books I feel comfortable with and know I’m going to love where the characters & stories within the books are all too familiar to me. This is fine every now and then, but this year I’m making a conscious effort to seek out stories which showcase diverse voices and different perspectives of the world.
While browsing the bookshelves at Readings bookshop, Yassmin’s colourful clothing and beaming smile on the front of her book cover stood out to me instantly! I recognised Yassmin after seeing her on Q&A a few years back and I remembered being really interested in what she had to say. So when I saw her face on the front of a book cover, I was instantly intrigued.
Yassmin has a Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian background. She is a hijab-wearing Muslim. She is a mechanical engineer who works on a remote Australian oil and gas rig, and she is the founder of Youth Without Borders; an organisation committed to empowering young people to make positive change in their communities. If that intro isn’t enough to grab your attention, then I don’t know what is!
Yassmin’s Story delves into Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s life thus far. From starting her life in Sudan before moving to Brisbane when she was two years old, Yassmin speaks openly about the challenges she has faced as a Muslim woman of colour living in Australia. It was really interesting for me to learn how the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York affected Yassmin as a young Muslim and how significant world events create societal change and shape our perceptions in both positive and negative ways.
Yassmin explains the methods she has used to overcome sexism in a male-dominated industry such as engineering, and the text explores how she juggles her faith, gender, identity and her family’s expectations of her while also staying true to her passions and life goals. Even though Yassmin’s cultural and religious background have the potential to hold her back, she has never let that stop her from achieving her goals. If anything, this book is a shining example of how much she has achieved in her young life. Yassmin explains the concept of unconscious bias brilliantly in her book and that’s the subject of her fantastic TED X talk featured below – have a watch!
Yassmin’s Story is full of surprises, she has a wicked sense of humour and she’s not afraid to give anything a go. I would highly recommend this book for young people of all different backgrounds as it’s a very inspiring and motivating read. I listened to the audio book version through Bolinda Audio‘s BorrowBox app, this was especially great because Yassmin reads it herself! Although I enjoyed the book and learnt a lot about another culture from my own, I did find it dragged towards the end. Because it doesn’t strictly flow in a chronological structure, the story tended to jump from one thing to another and I think that’s what made me lose interest towards the end.
If you’ve read this book or are interested in its contents, I recommend you check out Yassmin’s fantastic blog or buy a copy of Yassmin’s Story from Booktopia. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book in the comments below! x