Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition
When Melinda Sordino's friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast -- even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide. -Summary taken from Goodreads

Aright, this book made me a little angry. I was angry about what happened to Melinda. I was angry that she didn't feel she could tell anyone. I was angry that her supposed best friends just turned their backs on her without questioning her motive for calling the police. I was especially angry that her parents saw her withdrawing further and further into her self and instead of asking why, they just became angry at her. It just bothered me that everyone could see that something was seriously wrong but no one cared enough to delve into the why. 

Yes, teenagers can be moody and full of angst. However, if a normally happy, well adjusted teen suddenly quits speaking, quits hanging out with her friends and lets her schoolwork take a nose dive, wouldn't you as a parent care enough to discover why. It was really no wonder why Melinda didn't feel as though she could talk to anyone because no one really seemed to care, leaving this poor, young girl to internalize her feelings about the horrific trauma she endured. 

I think this book did  a great job of illustrating the way a secret such as this one can eat away at your soul. Some secrets, like Melinda's should never be kept. You can see Melinda begin to heal in little ways the more she shares with others. I'm glad to hear they are teaching this book in high schools. Hopefully girls in a similar situation to Melinda's will recognize how important it is to find someone they can trust to speak to. No one needs to suffer in silence.


M.J. Fifield said...

I love this book for the reasons you mentioned. When I was teaching, I made the school purchase this book just so I could teach it in my classes.

I don't know if you've read them or not but LHA's novels "Wintergirls" and "Twisted" are also very good.

Danmark said...

This is a good novel about a girl that is raped and a back to school party. She calls 911 and all of her friends turn on her because she called the cops but don't know why she did it. Now Melinda rarely speaks to anyone and has no friends. As she battles through an art project, other classes and lack of friends, Melinda finally opens up to someone only for them not to believe her. At the end Melinda finds her voice when she is confronted by the boy who raped her to begin with.

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