Title: Rae (a Louder than Words memoir)
Author: Chelsea Rae Swiggett
Rae is beyond socially awkward.
Since she was a little girl, Rae Swiggett knew something was different about her. The sound of planes flying overhead could spark a panic attack. Being called on in class was enough to push her over the edge. She feared the unknown, life, death, people . . . even fear itself.
By the time she reached ninth grade, Rae was muddling through life in relative silence, convinced everyone was mocking her, judging her, picking her apart, bit by little bit. Rae knew she couldn't keep going on this way. She knew something had to give.
'It's a game of catch-22 I constantly play with myself. If I keep acting normal, I hope one day I will be, but every time I try, I just let myself down. I'm so entirely sick of this game.'
My Thoughts: Before I begin my review I want to point out that yes, I do know Chelsea. Yes, I consider her a friend and yes, I did meet her in person before I read her memoir. However, my friendship with Chelsea is not reflected in this review. I tried very hard to keep my friendship with Chelsea and my opinions of Rae separated.
I didn't need to worry, though, because Chelsea is a dang good writer. Out of all the Louder than Words books I've read, hers is by far the best - you can tell that writing is her passion, what she lives and breathes. I've often found memoirs hard to read because they tend to not flow as well as fiction but Rae was an exception. I often found myself getting lost in the prose and cheering for Rae and forgetting that I was, in fact, reading a true story.
Rae is also an incredibly easy book to relate to because even though it may not be on such a severe level, I'm sure we've all had anxiety about an upcoming moment or found ourselves feeling like everyone was staring at us. Chelsea's story does not stop there, though, and I definitely think it's a story everyone should read. It's not heartbreaking and probably won't give you an "Oh my god, I can't believe that happened! That poor girl!" reaction, but it will definitely give some insight, perhaps to yourself or someone you know, and, at the core, it's just a good book.
My one complaint is that at times, I lost track of the timeline. I also would've liked to see some events expanded on and perhaps more of a push on the importance of writing and books in her life. But, I also realize there was a strict word-count rule and deadline.
Overall, bravo to Chelsea for writing such a fantastic debut!