Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Description: Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.
Overall: To start, I loved the format of this book. It was basically a story in the form of poems. So amazing and easy to get into and different. The topic was so sad and disheartening, reading about what her father put her family through. It showed that abuse isn't always physical, and even ignoring someone can count as abuse. I thought Anke was inspirational and conflicted, very well developed. I do understand her predicament with joining the volleyball team since her father forbade it, but I just got a slight bit irritated, because if your father is abusive and he tells you not to do something as little as joining a volleyball team, why do it? I understand telling someone about the abuse if he forbids that, but something as unimportant as joining the team is risky because it could, and in this case did, lead to one of her siblings being hurt. Now, I do understand that this was the first act of defiance that lead to later acts, which ultimately freed them from his anger, but I'm not so sure I would have done it the same. Obviously, I've never been in a situation like that, so what I think now is most definitely different than what I would do, but thinking it through as an outsider, it just seems unnecessarily risky. However, I love the book. My only issue with the format was that I was hoping for more of a poetic story telling, not just telling the story and breaking it up to look like a poem. Some of the pages were poetic and amazing, I just wanted more of that and less of a typical story. All in all, loved most of the book.
Characters: Anke was so conflicted and trapped, but also brave. It took her to stand up and ultimately get hurt to free her family, and she did so unflinchingly. Anke had to figure out how she could be a good person, if she was wishing something like rape on herself just for attention, and that made her strong. Her mother was disgusting, but I assume and accurate portrayal of a person in her position in real life. She allowed rape and abuse to continue to her children, and for that she will always be a terrible person in my eyes. A mother's sole purpose is to protect her children, so allowing someone to harm them day after day is monstrous. Her brother and sister were equally scared and stronger than anyone ever should have to be, to face the abuse everyday. The author did an amazing job developing the characters in the little words went into this book.