Book Review: Positive

Book Review:  Positive: A Memoir

by Paige Rawl

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5)

Why Did I Read?

My 8th grade daughter asked me to get this book from the library because she had to do a project on someone who has made a difference in the world.  She decided she wanted to do the project on something that interested her, and since bullying is something that she unfortunately witnesses far too often in her school, she decided to do her project on Paige Rawl, an advocate against bullying.  When I picked up the book from the library for my daughter and saw the front cover and read the summary, I knew right away it was something I would be interested in reading, too!

Summary (from Goodreads)

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 roll.

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.

What Did I Think/Recommendation:

I absolutely loved this book!  I could not put it down!  I think everyone should read it, especially middle-school and high-school students.  It was a very quick and easy read, but filled with so much wisdom and so many life lessons, all written by a 19-year-old girl!  The messages Paige shares apply to every one of us.  Positive educates readers on the important topics of HIV/AIDS, bullying, and suicide, but it also promotes gratitude, forgiveness, embracing your differences and loving yourself just as you are, and most importantly, kindness (my four favorite subjects!).

When the lawsuit against her middle school did not turn out in Paige’s favor, she came to the realization that she could still make a difference simply by telling her story.  She knew she needed to tell her story, not only for herself, but for everyone else who had ever been affected by bullying.  Paige’s story helped to create an antibullying law.  It raised awareness about HIV/AIDS, bullying, suicide, and other topics that are so relevant to our society today.  But most importantly, the story helps the reader to recognize that the qualities that make us different are the exact qualities that, when embraced, could be used to change the world, just as Paige did.

We all have a story.  We are all different in some way.  Although that difference may feel like a curse as it separates us from others, it has the potential to be a blessing.  Allow yourself to embrace your differences and recognize them as part of who you are.  DECIDE to view that difference as a gift, and know that you have the opportunity to use that difference to make this world a better place.

Find more reviews about Positive on Goodreads.

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