Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas (pub. 4/09)

February 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

furnitureBecause I am Furninture is simply written in poetry/prose, in a stream of consciousness style.  Although it is not text-dense, the story of Anke, a freshman in high school and the relationships between her family and friends resonates loudly.  Anke is trapped in a family with an extremely abusive father and although the abuse is discussed in the text it is never graphically described in detail; but then it doesn’t need to be because Chaltas’ well chosen words suggest the pain of this family’s horrible secret.

This book is not however, a tale of victims.  Anke  speaks of her home life and school life and the juxtaposition of the two.  Basically, she is a ‘normal teen age girl’ experiencing all of the normal pangs of growing up,  except for the secret of abuse.  Anke is actually almost jealous of her older brother Darren and sister Yaicha, the main targets of her father’s abuse, because at least he acknowledges their existence, albeit in twisted ways.  Anke feels like nothing more than a piece of furniture in her own home, very often flying under the radar with little recognition from either of her parents.

As she develops into a young woman in this story, she finds her own voice and strength and finally stops her father.  She is no longer afraid of what her siblings and mother will think of her or whether they blame her for the loss.  She takes a stance and the secret comes out and the healing process begins and she realizes that her voice is exactly what her family needed.  At last she is more than just furniture in her own home.

Highly recommended for grades 7-12.  Ellen McTyre, Mamaroneck Library.

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