Paige Rawl has an important story to tell – her own. She was born with HIV, though she didn’t know that until she was in sixth grade and didn’t really understand what it really meant until later. Up until that point, doctor visits and daily medications were just a part of her life. In fact, she didn’t even really understand why it would be a big deal. She mentioned her status to her very best friend – and in that instant, everything changed. That best friend became her biggest bully. The majority of her classmates started treating her differently, calling her disgusting names and slipping hateful notes into her locker. Paige stopped doing beauty pageants, even though she had loved it. Her teachers ignored Paige’s pleas for help and in fact made her feel worse about herself. Paige endured years of bullying before she was able to find real help, real friends, and figure out what she wants to do… this book is just part of that.
Paige’s story is heartbreaking, anger-inducing, and completely inspiring. The writing is completely accessible for younger or reluctant readers. I can’t even wrap my head around the bullying that Paige was subject to… that kind of behavior is unfathomable to me. But it happens, and it continues to happen which is worse. I want everyone to read this book – I already see myself becoming very vocal about this in my library and community – because everyone can learn from this. Teens and adults alike. Librarians and teachers will especially appreciate the listing of resources and facts at the back of the book related to HIV/AIDS and Bullying, though all readers will benefit from having that information readily available.
To Paige (though I’m sure she’ll never see this) – You are such an amazing young woman. Thank you for being so brave and for sharing your story with the world. I wish you continued success in college and in life!
Positive: A Memoir
by Paige Rawls with Ali Benjamin
Source: ARC from a friend