Title: Because I Am Furniture
Author: Thalia Chaltas
Publication Year: 2009
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from the library at my school
From the cover:
Anke’s father is abusive to her brother and sister. But not her. Because to him, she is like furniture – part of the background, invisible. Then Anke makes the school volleyball team.
As Anke learns to call for the ball on the court, she finds a voice that she never knew she had. For the first time, Anke is making herself seen and heard, working toward the day that she will be able to speak up loud enough to rescue everyone at home – including herself.
I seem to be finding myself reading more and more novels that are written in verse form lately. Is it just me, or are more books coming out like this now than there were before?
Because I Am Furniture is one of these “novels in verse”. I’ve noticed that these books tend to address topics that are a little bit more heavy and realistic, and this one is no exception. Anke, the narrator, is struggling with the relationship her father has with everyone else in their family, all the while knowing that she doesn’t even rate to him, that she doesn’t exist. While her siblings are being abused, Anke is simply ignored, and she’s not really sure which is worse.
I struggled a bit with this one, partly because I had a hard time believing that Anke and her siblings would have let the situation continue for so long, but also because of the non-existant relationships between each of the siblings. It was difficult for me to believe that three siblings so close in age, dealing with the same abusive parental figure, would seemingly dislike each other so much and ignore each others’ existence rather than try to help each other and accept that help when offered.
Other than that, though, I found Because I Am Furniture to be a very compelling read. I whisked through it in a single sitting, lost in Anke’s world. This may actually have made the events of the book seem to happen more quickly and keep them from sinking in as well as they could, but I still think that Chaltas did a fabulous job. I definitely recommend this one to teens who are dealing with challenging circumstances – particularly involving abuse – or to people who work with teens or have other reasons to be interested in these issues. It wasn’t the best novel I’ve read this year, but it definitely made an impact.
- 1/? for the Summer Slimdown Challenge