Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

February 6, 2011
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“This is where you can find your soul, if you dare. Where you can touch that part of you that you’ve never dared to look at before. Do not come here and ask me to show you how to draw a face. Ask me to help you find the wind.”

Melinda Sordino can’t find her voice. She can’t speak – doesn’t want to, doesn’t need to, and no one will listen anyway. She called the cops during a party over the summer, and everyone’s mad at her for blowing the whistle. But none of them understand why she did it, and she can’t seem to get the words out to tell them. They won’t listen anyway, she knows they won’t. No one would believe. No one would understand.

No one would care.

Speak is definitely an intriguing look inside the mind of a trauma victim, and I can understand why it was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award from the American Library Association, but I didn’t like it. This was not a happy book, and I like books that take the reader away from reality instead of forcing her to face it. Anderson definitely has an interesting way with words – the entire novel is told with only minimal dialogue, so the audience is very in tune with Melinda’s thoughts and feelings as she lives her life with a horrifying secret. This book is good for people who are interested in psychology or are just interested in how traumatic events can negatively affect a person, but I wouldn’t have anyone younger than seventh grade read this, and that may even be pushing the limit on too young. I will probably never read this again.


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LacedWithPearls said...
Nov. 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm
This is the single worst book review I have ever read, due to the lack of understanding on the reader's part. (Did you even read the book?) This novel gives clear insight into the world of a young adult struggling to overcome adversity. It' s a novel anyone can relate to. The circumstances may be wearisome, but it serves a direct purpose. We all must oversome obstacles, which is the POINT of the novel. If you wish to read "happy novels" try the children's section of your lo... (more »)
_KTLS_ This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm
Thanks for your feedback, but I respectfully disagree with you. I take from your comment that you liked the book and what it stood for, and at some level I did, too. However, I have read other books that dealt with similar issues and have liked them better. The use of the term “happy book” may have been an oversight on my part, but when I was given the book I was under the impression that it would be written in a much lighter tone. I gave “Speak” a relatively negative rev... (more »)
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