Friday, March 11, 2011

[Review] Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Title: Because I Am Furniture
Author: Thalia Chaltas
Publication: 2009
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Source: Won
Age: 16+
Pages: 320
My Rating:

Anke's father is abusive to her brother and sister. But not to her. Because, to him, she is like furniture— not even worthy of the worst kind of attention.

Then Anke makes the school volleyball team. She loves feeling her muscles after workouts, an ache that reminds her she is real. Even more, Anke loves the confidence that she gets from the sport. And as she learns to call for the ball on the court, she finds a voice she never knew she had.

For the first time, Anke is making herself seen and heard, working toward the day she will be able to speak up loud enough to rescue everyone at home— including herself.
My thoughts: 

Because I Am Furniture is told in a series of poems in the perspective of Anke, the youngest child, who is barely acknowledged by her abusive father. In her gait, she pursues something that no one in her entire family would have dared to: she joins the school volleyball team. Chaltas' book follows the journey of Anke's self-discovery towards gaining a voice that she never knew she had.

I had extremely high hopes for Because I Am Furniture, and after one sitting I came out pretty torn in my opinions regarding this book. On one hand, the main issue addressed, domestic abuse, was dealt with careful sensitivity, inspiring hope for young teens and adults alike. But on the other, I felt so disconnected from the characters as result of the book's format (series of poems) that the ending felt lacking, emotionally.

I liked the poems; the words flowed with consistency and ran down the pages with ease. The story was easy to follow . . . it just all wasn't enough to make me feel anything really significant about this book. I don't believe all this is the author's fault though, more due to the format of the book. I'm led to believe that I would have enjoyed this far more had it been in prose, and it is for this very reason that I will be reading Displacement, her next novel.

Read Because I Am Furniture for the breezy poems and the sharp address of domestic abuse -- but don't expect to care much for the characters.


First Poem (all formatting from book intact)

"I am always there.
But they don't care if I am
because I am furniture.

I don't get hit
I don't get fondled
I don't get love
because I am furniture.

Suits me just fine."


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I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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