Frank, fearless, funny, articulate, and inspiring, Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a young Muslim dynamo offering a bracing breath of fresh air—and hope. At 21, Yassmin found herself working on a remote Australian oil and gas rig; she was the only woman and certainly the only Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian background Muslim woman. With her hijab quickly christened a “tea cosy,” there could not be a more unlikely place on earth for a young Muslim woman to want to be. This is the story of how she got there, where she is going, and how she wants the world to change.
I absolutely love this memoir and I have been a long time fan of Yassmin and her work since I came across her TedX ‘What does my headscarf mean to you?’ video. Words that come to mind when I think of Yassmin are: Audacious, Bold, Inquisitive, Influential, Charismatic, Funny, Ambitious and the list continues! Yassmin has achieved incredible things at a young age hence this is a needed memoir documenting her life experiences. The memoir spans the different phases of Yassmin’s life right from primary to university, as the founder of Youth Without Borders to her role as an engineer on oil rigs and finally as a world-renowned speaker.
It was great that the book highlighted the influence of Yassmin’s parents and their Sudanese background on her life. One thing that stands out in the book is that Yassmin doesn’t play by the rules and in fact, is energised by a good challenge and debate, a focal aspect of her work in terms of challenging stereotypes and biases. Her humour is apparent in the anecdotes relayed throughout the memoir, making it personal and relatable.
I have 162 highlights on my Kindle which is a testament to how impactful this memoir is! I love that it details her progressions throughout her career, the difficult experiences and decisions she’s had to make, the thought process behind particular moments, the early zeal of her youth and her challenges navigating her identity as Muslim Australian Sudanese woman who wants to create impact and leave a legacy.
Her life story and her book highlight the power of story telling in defining our own narratives as women, women of faith and women of colour. There were a lot of moments reading the book where I kept thinking ‘If Yassmin can do it, I can do it too!” This is the memoir that I would recommend for a lot of young adults! Muslim or Non-Muslim, Male or Female, there is a lot to learn from the life of this amazing and illustrious woman.
Definitely, give Yassmin’s story a read.
Top Three Quotes
The stories being told about people like me are often told by people who are not like me and often without permission.
I have never been one to wait my turn.
If I didn’t speak out on behalf of women, especially women of faith and women of colour, in spaces where those voices are not heard, then there was little point in having me at that table.
Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!