Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Anke knows what she sees is wrong, but she also knows she hates being ignored. She's like a piece of furniture...without thought, without sound, overlooked. It's an ambivalence in her that she can't overthrow, but there's nothing to do about it. She wants attentions, but her mother is silent. She wants her father to notice her, but not in the same way he sees her brother or sister. She wants to be part of her sibling's circle, but they won't let her in. Life on the outside looks pretty good to everyone else, but life on the inside is diseased.

Anke decides she needs something in her life and tries out for the volleyball team. When the team is announced, she is nervous about being overlooked again. And then...her name is read out and she is now part of something. It's unfamiliar territory, but one she slowly becomes a part of. The most important lesson she's learning? How to shout and call for the ball, possess it, make it hers. And this lesson begins to trail into her personal life with her family.

But is her voice one that needs to be heard? Is it something Anke wants others to hear? She knows she's the catalyst. Say something and her family will disintegrate. Don't say anything and her family will still disintegrate, but in a completely different way. The big question - is it better to hide family secrets and still have one, or expose those secrets and fracture the semblance of family? Anke doesn't know the answer, but the emotional waves that toss her around, from the bruising on her brother's face to her sister's bedroom door closing in the dead of night; from her mother's absence to her father's heavy presence, creates an inner person within Anke that will decide her fate.

Written in free-verse, this is a book, that although is a fast read, will make readers stop and think. The enemies Anke faces, from those in flesh and blood to those hiding behind her emotions, portray themselves subtly, leaving the reader to uncover the horrors she faces, not only with her family, but in her relationships with her friends, both guys and girls. Powerful book worth reading.



Thanks for such a wonderfully insightful review! I am glad you enjoyed the novel and it sounds very much like you 'got' it.

You have a great blog - I wish I had you as my personal librarian!


bj neary said...

This is definitely one I will order and read, I love free verse and it sounds like it is compelling and one teens will pass around. Thanks for another great review!