Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl
Publish Date: August 26th 2014 (first published August 15th 2014)
Page Amount: 288 Pages
Price: $18.99 Hardcover
ISBN: 0062342517 (ISBN13: 9780062342515)
"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." (Goodreads Description)
This book exceeded all of my expectations.
I am so impressed and touched by this story.
Paige Rawl was born HIV positive. She has always taken medication at the same time other children eat breakfast, and gone to doctor's appointments when other children were playing sports. Paige never seemed to have a problem with this, because for most of her childhood, Paige did not know of her HIV status.
But times have changed for Paige. She was beginning middle school, meaning that a new reputation had to be created and upheld. This means that Paige would enter several beauty pageants, attend class lock-ins and dances, and make new friends. But one thing that Paige might not have expected, is the disastrous and painful aftermath of informing Yazmin - a friend she had known for the majority of her life - of her HIV status. She could have never imagined what would happen next.
POSITIVE is a story, but most importantly, it is Paige's story. POSITIVE is a story about illness, bullying and a lack of acceptance, but POSITIVE is also a story about new hope when Paige believed there was none, new and better experiences when Paige thought she couldn't survive anymore, and reversing stereotypes when Paige was invited to speak at several HIV-centered events. POSITIVE is the story about change, inspiration and hope. POSITIVE is just that, remaining positive when everything else seems to crumble. That is what Paige does best.
Paige Rawl has an exceptional writing style and a way with words. Her story clicks with me and resonates with me so much that I finished the entire memoir in one day. I never wanted to put this book down, and I never wanted the telling of her story to end. Paige uses the perfect amount of details and life events within her story that it feels like the reader was on the journey with her.
Perhaps this was because all of this drama unfolded in middle school, or just the sense that all of this drama unfolded at all, but I clicked with Paige instantly. I wanted to scream at her counselor when she was told just to stop the drama and deny her HIV status. I wanted to scream when Paige was told that no one believed that she was framed when Yazmin found that note on her locker. I also wanted to run and support her when Yazmin's sister threw a McDonald's drink at her.
I really loved this book, because it is not just a story. It was, is, and will be Paige'sstory. This is a book about life turning upside-down, broken relationships, and life throwing you under the bus. This book is not just about an HIV status. This book is about being POSITIVE.
I received a copy of this novel through the Goodreads First Reads program.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.