Book Review: Positive by Paige Rawl

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Positive, a memoir that I will never forget, gives us the story of a young girl named Paige who was born with HIV. She grew up thinking she was just like the other kids (health wise) until she learned that she was born with the disease. Soon, she confided in her best friend she thought would have some compassion since her friend’s mother was fighting a crippling disease (Multiple Sclerosis), but her friend did not. The news Paige told her friend in confidence immediately began circulating around the school and Paige became the center of bullying.

There were moments in this book I felt was a bit immature, but she was only in middle school when this happened to her. I do not feel I have the right to review a memoir, per say, so I will say that I thought it was well written. The information she shared with us about HIV was very understandable, especially to the layperson who does not know a ton about HIV. Even though she did have a hard time in school and her health, she didn’t fail to mention the good things she was experiencing as well. She didn’t make it a complete sob story. I respect that.

This book showed me just how much people will go out of ignorance. I’m sure if she had more support from her school in advocating HIV and having information available for the students, then all of this could have been avoided. What I REALLY liked about this book is that yes, this is her story about growing up with HIV, but she did not make it completely about her. She realized that bullying can happen to anyone. She saw it as something bigger than her. She took steps to make sure no one else would go through it. She also mentioned cases of other young people who actually committed suicide because of bullying.

Paige has done so many public appearances before this book and after it was published. I am really proud of her. I am proud of her for turning something that could have been a tragedy into something powerful and a way to help others who are experiencing a life similar to hers or those who get bullied because they’re different.

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I cannot recommend this book enough. I especially recommend it to pre-teens and teens because it deals with a lot of issues they go through during that awkward time of their lives and maybe they can show more compassion to those (specifically the outcasts) around them. Paige used her story to inspire others and noted that there is a strength in being different. People can come together and find a common ground just through knowing they are different from those around them. There is power in turning the worst thing that could ever happen to you into something positive.

Awesome Finds!

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I love getting new books to read! It never hurts to add to your collection. I found three books this morning at my place of employment. People give away books that they’ve read and chose not to keep. Luckily, I found these. These are my go to favorite genres to read when it comes to non-fiction. Here’s a little more information about them.

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The Force of Reason by Oriana Fallaci

The genesis for The Force of Reason was a postscript entitled Due Anni Dopo (Two Years Later), which was intended as a brief appendix to the thirtieth edition of The Rage and the Pride (2002). In The Force of Reason Fallaci takes aim at the many attacks and death threats she received after the publication of The Rage and the Pride. Ms. Fallaci begins by identifying herself with one Master Cecco, the author of a heretical book who was burnt at the stake during the Inquisition seven centuries ago on account of his beliefs, and proceeds with a rigorous analysis of the burning of Troy and the creation of a Europe that, to her judgment, is no longer her familiar homeland but rather a place best called Eurabia, a soon-to-be colony of Islam (with Italy as its stronghold). Ms. Fallaci explores her ideas in historical, philosophical, moral, and political terms, courageously addressing taboo topics with sharp logic.

 

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Genghis Khan’s Greatest General: Subotai The Valiant by Richard A. Gabriel

This book tells the story of Subotai the Valiant, a warrior for Genghis Khan and one of the greatest generals in military history. Subotai commanded armies whose size, scale, and scope of operations surpassed those led by any other commander in the ancient world. Under Subotai’s direction, Mongol armies moved faster, over greater distances, and with a greater scope of maneuver than any army had ever done before.

When Subotai died at age seventy-three, he had conquered thirty-two nations and won sixty-five pitched battles, according to Muslim historians. Had the great Khan not died, Subotai likely would have destroyed Europe itself.

 

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The Foreigners Gift by Fouad Ajami

Fouad Ajami, one of the world¹s foremost authorities on Middle Eastern politics and the recipient of the 2006 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Achievement and the National Humanities Medal of 2006, offers a brilliant, illuminating, and lyrical portrait of the ongoing struggle for Iraq and of the American encounter with that volatile Arab land. In a new introduction, the author discusses the many major events that have taken place since the publication of the hardcover, including the implications of Saddam¹s execution, the Baker-Hamilton Commission, and the return to Iraq of General David Petraeus. He renders unsparingly the growing American disillusionment with the war and the struggle within Iraq between those keen to hold on to the promise of the new country called up by America¹s war and others determined to thwart that promise and overwhelm it with sectarian strife. Ajami situates the current unrest within the context of Iraq¹s recent history of dictatorship and its rich, diverse cultural heritage. He applies his incisive political commentary, his broad and deep historical view, his mastery of the Arabic language and Arabic sources, and his lustrous prose to every aspect of his subject, wresting a coherent, fascinating, and textured picture from the media storm of fragmented information. The Foreigner¹s Gift is the book we all need to read in order to understand what is happening in Iraq today and what the future might hold for all of us