Book Review–Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin




This is the 66th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.



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Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Published August 15th 2014 by HarperCollins


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.




I won a copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program. Many thanks to the publisher/author for giving me the chance to read and review this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Memoirs aren’t usually my favorite kind of books, but this book has definitely made that list. I guess I just didn’t expect this book to make such an impact on me. I can’t remember the last time that I cried so much while reading a book, either.

I knew very little about HIV, or even AIDS, before reading this memoir. My heart broke when Paige’s parents discovered that they were HIV positive–along with little Paige. If that wasn’t bad enough, Paige’s best friend decides to tell the entire school about her, which results in years of bullying. Then it gets worse–the school blames Paige for her own bullying. It was incredibly mortifying.

I’m no stranger to schools with this type of behavior–my family has experienced similar instances–but this school’s reaction just took the cake. I sincerely hope that things have improved at that school and that the administration who ignored the bullying were fired.

Despite the bullying, health problems, and inner turmoil, Paige found a way to turn all that negativity into something good. She is truly an inspiration not only for fellow HIV positive people, but all children who have been bullied for who they are.

Thank you, Paige, for sharing your story. I wish you all the success in your future endeavors and activism. I highly recommend this one. I hope one day that all schools will have a no bullying policy and that kids like Paige will never feel alone.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.








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