Book Review: Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin + Giveaway

Positive: A Memoir
Author: Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Non-Fiction | Autobiography
Released: August 26th 2014
Review Source: HarperCollins

In this astonishing memoir, Paige tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal—one that will resonate deeply with the thousands of children and adults whose lives have been touched by bullying.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called "PAIDS," first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

The gripping first-person account of Paige’s life will pull in even the most reluctant readers of nonfiction, and her call to action to choose compassion over cruelty will stay with them long after they turn the last page.

Positive was a story that I didn’t expect to affect me as much as it did. The story hurt but it loved as well, and the strength this girl inevitable found was so inspiring. Positive is a memoir about Paige Rawl’s life growing up, you may not have heard of her, but you will or you should definitely take the time out of your day to learn about her story. With the help of Ali Benjamin, the duo wrote an inspiring story that really opened my eyes.

So Positive follows the life of Paige Rawl, a girl who was unfortunately born with the HIV virus. The virus never stopped Paige from being herself, she never wanted to become the virus, and she just wanted to be young and free. When Paige exposed her secret to her best friend within minutes the entire school had heard. Without surprise the tormenting started to begin; they called her PAIDS, wrote nasty letters for her locker, wouldn’t touch anything after her, and were just completely cruel. And it wasn’t just the students, the teachers weren’t the most helpful either, but this is Paige’s story to tell, you need to read it.

This book really made me mad though, and not at the story or the girl but everyone around her. The teachers didn’t do a thing to help make the bullying stop, there was even a teacher that got a little too nosey, in which I wanted to punch that nose. But what I hated the most was all the excuses everyone made, no one manned up and was like “hey I was wrong, sorry about that” at least we could expect that from the adults in her life. I’m so tired for people making excuses for children, “oh they’re just kids what do you expect?” Uhh I expect them to treat anyone with the respect they deserve. Our children are taught hate; it’s not embedded in us to come out in the future, they are taught to be cruel or mean. Why aren’t we teaching kids at a young age that this stuff is horrible, that you can’t just say things like that, you can’t just push someone around and blame it on “just being a kid”? Just because she was born with something doesn’t give you an invitation to be cruel, just because that girl over there is wearing a short skirt she isn’t asking for it. And for the adults in her life to fall so flat and give her no hope just crushed my soul.

This book was something that completely took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to love it so much and be filled with such anger afterwards. I know when I have kids; this will be something they’ll read. They’ll need to know that just because something is different on the inside or the out, they are still a human being and deserved to be treated as one. They’ll know all the horrible ramifications for bullying, they’ll also be taught that being cruel is a weakness in others and if they are at the end of bullying that they’ll overcome it, they won’t have to deal with these people their entire life. I really hope to see this book in schools in the future. I hope her story is taught, because there are so many young children choosing suicide as the answer to end the hurt they are feeling. Please read this book, please have your children read this, give Paige Rawl the support, she deserves it.

Here at OUaT, you know we love to giveaway the books that impact us. Below you can enter to win a  hardcover copy of POSITIVE: A Memoir of yourself. Make sure to read the terms and conditions.


  1. I really need to add some memoirs to my reading schedule. This sounds like something I really need to read.
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. I think reading memoirs is important, but I really need to do it more! I think this might be the beginning of a long memoir journey ahead :)

    Check out my double giveaway:

  3. I desperately want this. I have gone through weeks and I have just not been able to shake this giveaway/book from my mind, I would really love to win this.


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