Thursday, October 8, 2009

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


I Give This Book 4 Stars!

Description: Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...
Laurie Halse Anderson's first novel is a stunning and sympathetic tribute to the teenage outcast. The triumphant ending, in which Melinda finds her voice, is cause for cheering (while many readers might also shed a tear or two). After reading Speak, it will be hard for any teen to look at the class scapegoat again without a measure of compassion and understanding for that person--who may be screaming beneath the silence.

I finding it very hard to put into words how I felt about this book, especially without giving away the big part of the story (although, it's not hard to guess).  I understood the main character, not because I've been in her situation.  But, because I know those who have.  It was upsetting to watch her sink lower and lower into a depression and see that no one cared.  I couldn't believe that her parents couldn't see that there was something extremely wrong with their daughter.  And how her ex-friends could be so petty about something they never cared to understand.   I breezed through this because I had to get to the end.  I needed to know that Melinda realized it was not her fault and that she could (and needed) to speak about it.  And in coming to terms with that I believe she realized she was probably not the only one.
I hope the any parent or young adult that reads this, takes into account what changes a person might go through if they experience something like Melinda did.  Not speaking up about it is a very real problem.
I do have to say that the writing in this story was very simple and written differently than a lot of things I've read.  But, I believe it is suppose to be that way.  I think it demonstrates how the narrator feels very well.


  1. I never read this book, but Nona sounds so sad.

  2. What's strange is that I never felt sad reading it. It was sad what happened to her. But, I know how often it happens. More than anything I was angry at the characters around the Melinda. I was so proud of her when she found her voice and actually told someone what happened to her!


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