Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

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Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: A story about an abusive father, told in poetry. Powerful and haunting, but let down a bit by the ending, though still definitely worth borrowing or buying.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0670062980

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Anke's Father is abusive. He attacks her brother, sister and mother, but Anke is ignored. Not worthy of even these worst of attentions, Anke considers herself furniture. Unloved and unseen in a house where violence and abuse are part of day to day life. Then Anke makes the volleyball team at school. It's a sport that requires shouting, and suddenly Anke finds her voice. As she grows more confident on the court, she finds self-worth and self-respect.

But when it comes down to it, can she use that confidence, that voice, to make herself heard at home?

I didn't know what to make of this book at first. It's told entirely in poems, which I wasn't expecting. I am not a poetry person. Mostly I just don't get it. I enjoy the kind that are funny and rhyme – the sort for kids basically. Any that have no rhymes and lines all over the page make my eyes cross and my brain hurt. After scan reading the first few pages of this book I thought I really wasn't going to enjoy it. I was very wrong.

In Because I Am Furniture the poetry format perfectly suits the content. The irregularity echoes the disjointed reality Anke lives in, where violence is a measure of affection. The glimpses of the horror of Anke's life are much more powerful and effective than graphic description. Chaltas achieves the perfect balance between giving the reader information and letting them make their own assumptions and conclusions. Each poem is like a piece of a jigsaw, and the more pieces you read the more frightening and horrible a picture it creates.

In many ways, this is a five star worthy book. Absorbing and so completely spot on with each of Anke's conflicting emotions, Chaltas has almost written a masterpiece. I felt a bit let down by the ending though. It wasn't bad, as such, just a bit… wimpy. For a book that had been so unflinching, so gritty and so dark, it was all a bit too happy days at the end. Despite this, it is still an excellent read and definitely worth buying or borrowing.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.

Another excellent book that deals with an abusive home is Bad Alice by Jean Ure.

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Buy Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas at


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