Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl, Ali Benjamin
In this compelling and compulsively readable memoir, nineteen-year-old Paige Rawl tells the story of how she was mercilessly bullied in middle school...and how she overcame the ordeal to change her world for the better.
In this astonishing memoir, Paige tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal—one that will resonate deeply with the thousands of children and adults whose lives have been touched by bullying.
Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.
On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called "PAIDS," first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.
The gripping first-person account of Paige’s life will pull in even the most reluctant readers of nonfiction, and her call to action to choose compassion over cruelty will stay with them long after they turn the last page.
Publishes in US: August 26th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genre: memoir (reads like contemp)
Source: Harper Teen
Buy it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore.
Author stalk away: Paige ~site ~twitter =
Ali: site blog
This must be my week of branching out from what I usually read and being rewarded. First I tried and liked a book narrated in poetry, and now a memoir. These types of reads aren't usually what I go searching for, though I have read some on cystic fibrosis and eating disorders. But when this came on my radar, I just had to get my hands on it. A girl who has HIV and with a suicide attempt but has so much hope now and life so turned back into the innocence before telling her friends about her HIV status.
This to me, reads like a fiction, but it hurts my heart to know that the cruelty and hatred really happened. It is based on real characters. Some for the good but not all. I couldn't help but cheer every time that Paige learned more about her self worth and was able to put little piece by little shard of the painful time in middle school when she was bullied for a disease that was not her fault, and despite what a lot of people are wrong about, is not easy to spread in a social situation.
The relationship Paige has with her mom is amazing. Her mom's attention to detail and being a yes mom really touched me. She was doing everything she could to keep herself and her daughter healthy and have the fullest life. But Paige's voice is what got me addicted. Unlike most fiction, we get a deeper look into her background. We get to the see the pills, the doctors on one side, that made her childhood different, and then her pageants, where she gained so many people skills and confidence.
At first Paige's friendship with Jasmine seemed so perfect for a middle school friendship. They were always together, talking about everything from boys to birthday parties. But I guess that middle school friendships, or at least not all of them can handle such a weighty secret. And though unfortunately this friendship along with Lila, Yasmine's sister continues to be a sore spot and source of pain for her.
I was glad to see the people in the book that stood by Paige, who let her know that it wasn't right what people had said and done to her and about her. They shared smiles, secrets and helped to lift her up. I loved hearing about the Aids walks, the camp for kids touched by hiv/aids where Paige was really able to be free. I am so proud of her that she was able to turn something awful, and then share with others through talks about bullying and the relation to suicide, getting involved with law making, and hopefully saving one other person, one at a time, that its never okay to say or do mean things to another person. No matter how different they seem, they all have a heart and soul that can be broken.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you had any experience with bullying?