Positive: Surviving my Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World
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“. . . a brave tale . . .”
If you have ever been bullied, taunted, or threatened, you are certain to see yourself mirrored in Paige Rawl’s eye-opening memoir Positive. This young woman endured unpardonable experiences in a suburban Indianapolis middle school and survived to share her belief that it is possible to overcome those who feel they can bully without suffering the consequences.
Growing up, Paige thought she led a charmed life. As an A student she wanted to become a cheerleader, play soccer, and sing in the choir at middle school. She had even won some teen pageants. Sure, she had to take lots of medicines everyday to keep the HIV she was born with in check, but so did many other people who lived with conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Overall Paige felt healthy and happy and believed she had supportive friends. All that changed the day she shared her HIV status with her best friend—who turned out to be anything but a trusted companion. Soon she found herself taunted by her classmates that she had full blown AIDS, receiving horrible notes in her locker and death threats via text. Even worse, the school’s administrators, teachers, coaches and counselors did nothing to prevent further abuse. By turning a blind eye and blaming Paige for causing “drama”, they allowed the bullying to continue to the point Paige became ill from stress and eventually attempted suicide.
But Paige fought back the demons of doubt and fear, vowing to share her story so that others wouldn’t have to suffer like she had. Positive is a brave tale that exposes the backward mentality of Indiana, a place known for its bullying of young AIDS sufferer Ryan White. One can only hope that Paige and others like her will continue to speak out against prejudice and discrimination against those whose very lives are a testament to beating the odds.
Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews