Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas

Title: Because I Am Furniture
Author: Thalia Chaltas
Publisher: Viking Juvenile                     
Pages: 352
Release date: April 16th 2009
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads
Goodreads 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.
First sentence:
I am always there.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I used to be wary of novels written in verse, but after discovering Ellen Hopkins and how amazing her free-verse-writing is, I was more confident about them and thought I might like some other novels written in verse, too. That's why I bought Because I Am Furniture, which is also written in verse. But every problem I thought I'd have with novels written in verse and didn't with Ellen Hopkins's books, I did have with Because I Am Furniture.

The writting is...okay. It would have been pretty good if this weren't a verse-novel, just written like a normal book. But free-verse-novles have such few sentences to convey the story and the emotions that you need to make each word count, and the writing in Because I Am Furniture just isn't good enough for that, in my opinion.

The characters are underdeveloped. They're bland and don't seem like real people. Anke is pretty easy to relate to, but I don't feel like I really got to know her, and I felt kind of disconnected from her throughout. Anke's mother, brother and sister seemed more like plot devices than characters, and there wasn't enough about them for me to understand their motivation for not doing anything about their abusive father. The father is underdeveloped as well - the mom talks about his issues and this being his way of coping, but we never find out what he's struggling with. We never find out why he abuses Anke's brother and sister but not Anke, either. Anke's best friend Rona has no real personality, and neither does Angeline, this girl Anke sometimes hangs out with but who really annoys her. The reader never understands why Anke likes Rona but finds Angeline annoying - honestly, I saw no real difference between the two. The love interests Jed and Kyler are flat, too, and there is no real development in that storyline.

Another thing I disliked is that there is no real plot. There's the topic of abuse and the topic of volleyball, but there's no plot - just random scenes either at home or at volleyball, somehow put together. I also found it weird that the book is split into four parts - I saw no real destinction between the different parts, and the seperation seemed kind of random.

***This paragraph contains spoilers!***
The ending is too sudden and clichéd, in my opinion. How Anke finds her voice is too fast, and how all of a sudden the rest of the family is on her side and her father is immediately put in jail is unrealistc.

The one thing I liked are Anke's emotions - the conflict between hating what her father does to the family and feeling worthless because he doesn't abuse her are developed pretty well.

Obviously, I did not enjoy this book. I didn't find it engaging for the reader, and thought there was a lack of character- and plot-development. Maybe, though, that's just because this novel is written in verse, and I had too high expectations because of Ellen Hopkins's novels. I recommend Because I Am Furniture only if you really like free-verse-novels.


  1. I remember seeing this one way back then at Borders but I didn't buy it or open it. Ah, I haven't tried verse, so... I have Impulse which I'll read someday.

    About this book:

    It kind of misses the point if the whole interesting idea for us to read is to find out why her father doesn't hit her and then to well, not find out anything about why he does that? That's kind of weird.

    I don't like "eh, meh" characters either. Love my description. Lol


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