Monday, January 26, 2015

REVIEW: Positive

Happy Monday, everyone!

I know I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but after reading This Star Won't Go Out (see my review from last week), I moved onto Positive by Paige Rawl.  I was immediately intrigued by Paige's story because she is a local Hoosier with an incredible story--she was born HIV Positive.  What's even crazier, she didn't know about it until she saw it on a medical file chart!  And like Hoosier Ryan White 30 or so years ago, Paige also faced major bullying for her infection--and all due to the ignorance of those about it.

Paige is coming to visit my students in a few months--woo hoo!--so I couldn't wait to read her story.  Let's jump into the review!


  •  Standalone
  • Nonfiction/Memoir
The Gist:
Paige Rawl learned while peeking at her medical files that she was HIV Positive.  How did she become infected with HIV?  Her father unknowingly gave the infection to her mother, who then got pregnant with Paige.  But Paige grew up just knowing that taking pills at the same time every day was normal life for her, as were the frequent doctor visits.  So when she confided in her middle school best friend about her medical secret, she couldn't believe when she started getting bullied for it.  Like bullying to the extreme.  Enough to make Paige drop out of public school, enter a liberal arts high school, and reevaluate what it means to be who you really are and accept your whole self.

What I Loved:
  • First of all, let's just take a look at that cover.  Oh my goodness.  Gorgeous. 
  • I was so impressed that Paige changed the name of her middle school within the book.  Let's be honest--she could have slammed them for not responding to her bullying in any kind of appropriate way.  Many of us would.  But she takes the high road and changes their name.  Because it's not about putting their name through the mud and making ALL employees bad--it's about recognizing that ignorance still exists.
  • Paige tells her whole story with plenty of photos, and she reveals her true feelings about her family, so-called friends, and her infection.  She doesn't hold back.
  • I love that Paige wrote this at such a young age, because it keeps this message current and valuable to today's teens.
What I Didn't Love:
  • I wish Paige had touched more on fears she may have, like getting cut in public or being intimate with her future husband.  She barely gives us a glimpse of this, but I hoped to go a bit deeper.
A really great read that reminds us that ignorance still exists and it is up to us to make sure we are all treated as humans.  I can't wait to meet Paige and introduce her to my students!

I know what Paige's favorite pattern is--hint hint, animal!--so I'll be designing an outfit for her soon!

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