Review contributed to Read Schmead by Doppelganger
There is nothing quite like a book that grabs you from the first page with a character as memorable and inspiring as Anke. From the very first I was rooting for her and couldn’t wait to see her grow and blossom in Because I am Furniture, Thalia Chaltas’s debut novel.
At the core of this wonderfully crafted book stands Anke, who feels neglected and ignored by her family, like a piece of furniture. All the chapters/poems are presented through her point of view, providing a look into a household where an abusive father reigns unchecked. Anke has the dubious honor of being relegated to the sidelines (she’s never abused by her father) which severely affects her self-esteem. She finally finds her voice through Volleyball, playing with her teammates and demanding the ball on court, an essential part of the game.
Chaltas does a phenomenal job portraying her main character, letting readers really understand her through little moments and images all written in verse. According to Chaltas, she used the verse form for this novel for very specific reasons:
“I could both lighten the weight of the subject of abuse and incest with fewer words and more white space, and use denser, stronger words to portray abuse and incest that might have been overwhelming in prose.” (Quote found on PenguinBlog)
I felt like this book was a real eye-opener for me, as each poem led me further into the plot, but also managed to give me a glimpse of each moment being portrayed in a very clear manner, allowing me to see the beauty or the ugliness as it came. Abuse and incest are dark subjects indeed, but Chaltas provides hope and family (Anke’s teammates and her sister, brother, and mother) to counter all that.
Thalia Chaltas has her own blog or let’s say the voices in her head (a.k.a. characters) have a blog where you will find a picture posted once a week which is accompanied by a poem by a different character. It’s pretty darn irresistible, so head on over and check it out! Epiphany’s Voice: Or Who Are All These People Talking in My Head?!
Age Group: 14/15 and up
Genre: Young Adult Book
Themes: Family, Relationships, Mental & Physical Abuse
Publisher: Speak, Imprint of Penguin Group