Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Favorite Verse Novels, Part Two: BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE


From the back of the book:
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 love this book, first of all, because of the writing. Thalia Chaltas' use of language is vivid and breathtaking. In one poem I am blown away by her imagery:
bouncing through the neon rays of sunset

In the next I am shocked by the horrors she is able paint with so few words:
and for his own reasons
goes to my sister's room 
before he goes
to his own bed.

I was also struck by the contrasts in Anke's story. At home, she lives in fear for her sister and brother and in fear that her father will notice her. But at the same time, she is jealous. She wants her father's attention and wonders if something, even if it is horrible, is better than nothing.

BECAUSE I AM FURNITURE is hard to read, but even harder to put down. Even my second time reading this book, I could hardly stop. I was completely captivated by Anke's story, and the journey she takes to finally get to a place where she can speak out.


  1. This book sits on the treasured shelf in our house. You gave it to me. I remember the exact time and place when I finished reading this book, trying to hold back the tears. La Paz airport pre-boarding area. Afternoon. Delayed flight. I will probably re-read this book someday. Powerful.

  2. Angie, I loved this book so much that I had to buy myself a new copy after I gave mine to you! I'm so glad you appreciate that book as much as I do.


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