Why Speak?

By , Pleasant Plain, OH
Why is a book written? What makes Anderson’s novel so different from any other best selling book? Was the book just written for money or was there a reason?

There are a lot of reasons why people write books. One reason for books to be written is money. The author feels that if they write a huge series or books with sequels they can make tons of money and be a popular writer. Sometimes when authors do that the sequels and series aren't as good and they loose readers attention. But other times it works out and the author really does get famous. Enjoyment is another reason. The thought of writing just thrills the author and they can always think of something to write about and just writes for fun. Most of the time these authors don’t have as much popularity because they have so many books out that everyone has read one and said they were just another author. Some authors only write a book once every so years after they find a topic that suites them and they feel needs to be written into a book. Than they discover that their few amazing novels are best sellers and they are happy. This seems the best way to write for you have better chances of getting money and enjoyment.

Laurie Anderson writes for enjoyment but only when she has a worth while topic and true life situation that can be discussed and might change the world if enough readers come fond of her. She gets her ideas from her life not from her brain.

Speak wasn’t just written to be written, it was purely thought up and connected to Laurie Anderson’s life. She loves writing even though it was not her favorite subject in high school (Newman 2). Anderson doesn’t write for money or because she was told to. She writes a book when something so powerful comes to her she has to share it with her world. In one of Anderson’s quotes she sums the book up perfectly: “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time” (GoodReads 1). This quote shows exactly what happens to Melinda the well thought up character. The truth is that Anderson writes because that’s what she loves to do and writes books because wonderful meaningful topics come to her mind.

What makes her book so good and so well written is the fact that the topic isn’t fictional or none important, it’s true and very out there, happening to real people. When you read this the truth of sexual assault really comes out and Anderson explains the effect that it can have on both genders after an assault and why it’s so important to know the out come of the assault. She tells you what the out come of the assault is through a girl who was based off of her life.

Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak to tell Melinda’s story. She says she writes story’s she doesn’t send messages (Anderson 208). It’s just fiction and most of it is made up, though some parts are from her high school experience most of it is just a story for the sake of a story (Speak Questions Speak ).

She is a writer and so she wrote this story because she wanted people to enjoy the book. If a reader reads the story and likes it than Laurie assumes that they will get messages out of it or at least think about the topic (Anderson 208).

The main character came to her in a nightmare (Anderson 203). Melinda was thought up during Anderson's dream in late 1996 (Here’s the Thing). Laurie began to jot and scribble down Melinda in words and didn’t really know who she was. Melinda’s event didn’t come known to her until she felt comfortable with the character (Anderson 203).

When Laurie was younger she was always overwhelmed and confused which set her back from people (Newman 2). Part of Melinda was written from what Anderson felt as a girl. She didn’t know anyone her freshman year of collage and she felt that the world was scary. So she put the hard parts of her life into Melinda’s story to help make her seem more real (Anderson 204).

To Anderson’s surprise Speak has changed the world. Not the book itself though, but the people who read the novel. She said that kids understanding of sexual assault is much higher now and those who have been harmed by it have spoken up because they see what Melinda has gone through and know that it is easier to let it out than to hold it all in (Speak Questions Speak).

Now that the book has been such a success readers are asking Anderson if she’s going to write a sequel. She has said that sometimes sequels are just ways to make more money, and don’t have as much effort and thought put into them as the first book did. Readers give her tons of ideas and finds a few very optional but will not write one till Melinda comes back to show her way (Here’s the Thing). My favorite quote from the book is “....by cutting off the damage you make it possible for the tree to grow again” (GoodReads 3). This is so meaning full to the book because it’s exactly what happens to Melinda. She finally speaks about her pain and than feels a little better and free. She can start again and grow as a new person. This is a perfect topic that Anderson proves in Speak by showing that it is always better to speak about what troubles you in life and any tragic events that scare you. Once Anderson dreamed up Melinda I think it was easy for her to go with it from there because she had a great character and event that lie in the true lives of teens.

“When I was a teenager, I dreamed about escaping. I was lucky. I succeeded.” “The world is a strange and wonderful place”(Think exist). These are two really great quotes form Laurie, she based this book with these quotes beneath the book. The first one is actually who Anderson made Melinda's character up after. She is hidden as a high schooler in Melinda's body. The second one is how I see Laurie Anderson's view of the world. She sees all the wonderful aspects of the world but also brings in the strange things and most of the time the things that make the world a worse place. For example sexual assault can be lived without but that is what makes the world strange.

Writing a book and finding out how the plot and ending is supposed to be is a hard job and the authors really have to push themselves to find the right ways. Laurie Anderson says in her revision process “I had three other endings that were all pathetic and lame.” She had to push herself to really find the right way to end her book (Anderson 202).

I believe that Anderson picked the ending she did because Melinda hasn’t fully recovered.
It takes time for everyone to overcome incidents but Melinda finds it’s easier to talk to her teacher than her parents because she is more comfortable with him. This is true, you should talk to someone who understands you. Also when Anderson shows Andy trying to abuse Melinda again and she fights back it shows the strength she has gained, so the ending Laurie picks is a great one because it leaves for a sequel if Anderson decides on one but it also wraps things up so that readers feel comfortable with the ending. Endings are tricky but I think that the way she ended her book is very good.

Laurie Anderson writes books for all ages some based on rough subjects but mixed with comedy and feeling (teenreads 1). She is a mother of four kids and when she writes sometimes they don’t like that she gets fed up with a tight schedule but they like the fact that she has a flexible one most of the time (Anderson 208). Anderson trys to prove to her readers that there will be light at the end of the tunnel for everyone with troubles if they just try to work through it (teenreads 1). She had her own problems when she was in high school; that’s why once she dreamt the idea it was easy for her to put real life acting in the writing and tell a true kind of story to her readers and show them what happens in the real world, how to get through it, and that there is always hope. Laurie wrote Speak because she loves to write and she had this amazing topic that came to her in a nightmare and was a real life situation, relevant to the world.

Works Cited

Anderson, Laurie. “Speak”. Penguin Group. Laurie Halse Anderson, 1999.

Anderson, Laurie. “Here’s the Thing”. http://madwomanintheforest.com/heres-the-thing/. 19 Oct. 2010.

Anderson, Laurie. “Speak Questions”. http://madwomanintheforest.com/youngadult-speak/. 19 Oct. 2010.

GoodReads. “Laurie Anderson Quotes”. http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/10003.Laurie_Halse_Anderson?page=1. 19 Oct. 2010

Newman, Patricia. “Who Wrote That?”. http://www.patriciamnewman.com/anderson.html. 19 Oct. 2010.

.Think exist.com. “Laurie Anderson Quotes”. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/writing_about_music_is_like_dancing_about/214497.html. 19 Oct. 2010

teenreeds.com. “Laurie Halse Anderson”. http://www.teenreads.com/authors/au-anderson-laurie.asp#top. 19 Oct. 2010.





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