Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Release Date: September 14, 2014
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Gripping
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Wow, I picked up Positive at BEA this year and I'm so glad I did because I flew through this book in just a couple hours and thought it was totally great! Memoirs aren't really my usual genre but I'm always open to them and this one centered around the author's middle school years as an HIV positive student who faced bullying, much of which came from people she thought were friends.
The book was so gripping and compelling and as soon as I picked it up I couldn't put it down. For one, even though it's heavier material, it's easy to get through. The writing details her time as a preteen and the maturity of the writing mirrors that so even though the content is about straggle and bullying, it's not hard to read. Once you start, a certain rhythm develops that pulls you through until you realize you're 100 pages past where you promised yourself you'd stop so you could finally clean your room like your mother's been asking you to for a week and has now just done herself. On the flip side of that, however, is that the writing oftentimes felt choppy and juvenile, which is where the star deduction comes from. That's my biggest qualm and while it's not a big deal, I think the writing could be greatly improved, especially because it's so good in some parts and so mediocre in others. For example, the one chapter called Red, which I'd quote but then I'd be quoting the whole thing and it'd be super long, I thought was SO well written and and I LOVED the way she described her emotions and actions and everything. I wish other parts of the memoir had used descriptive techniques like that. I think having two people write the book kindof made for a sort of disconnect. That being said, it didn't take away too much from the book and it was still well written and evocative and all the points that needed to be made were still made so definitely still read it. It's definitely still a nicely written memoir, I just would go over it again with a fine-toothed comb in the final review, maybe.
Okay, so this book is so powerful because it's the real story of this girl who goes through quite a bit of turmoil and I found myself hanging onto every word. I remember reading about the part where her guidance counselor is useless and legitimately getting so angry and wanting to punch her in the face and go on an angry rant at her because of how ignorant and stupid she was being until I remembered that even though this actually happened, it's still a book and I can't actually do that, especially not about a situation that happened years ago. It literally filled me with fiery rage, that scene. And the part with the note that she didn't write gave me anxiety and the IM's stressed me out. I said this book was gripping because I felt myself feeling everything in response to Paige's life experiences and forgetting that I wasn't supposed to be exhibiting actual emotions.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story. It didn't take long at all, I started and finished within a few hours and the book felt very light despite the content. Dispersed throughout the main story of her battle with HIV are small stories about Paige's other life accomplishments, like how she entered and won Pageants, or how she did cheerleading. I would definitely recommend reading this book if you're looking for a lighter memoir that still packs an emotional punch!
We also picked up another ARC of Positive, so we'll be giving it away! I really enjoyed this book so I would definitely recommend entering and experiencing a great book!
To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open US only, unless you are willing to pay the shipping, and is open through August 23rd. The winner will be selected shortly after and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Good luck! :)
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