Monday, February 14, 2011

YA Lit Week Four: Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson - 1999

Read for week four of Young Adult Lit course

Course Theme for the Week: Integrity: Making Moral Choices
Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Year: 1999
Publisher: Puffin
Date Read: 2-13-2011
Overall: * * * * * (5/5)

GoodReads Blurb: 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...

My Review: I think this was the third time I've read Speak. The first time I read this book was in high school, and I was probably a freshman or sophomore. I remember instantly relating to Melinda, not because of the specific problems she faces, but because of how she handles them and how she curls up into herself. I felt like spending a day in her head would be eerily similar to spending a day in my own head.

This isn't exactly and easy book to read. It's harsh and depressing at times, but ultimately Melinda grows stronger by the end of the book and she finally lets the truth come out about her attack. Throughout the book I just wanted to have Melinda yell at somebody about what had happened, but she does know that she has to tell her former friend (Rachel, I think) when she begins to date the boy who hurt her.

In relation to this week's theme in the list course, integrity, I would say that Melinda had strong morals. She knew right from wrong, even though she couldn't admit what had happened to anyone. However, when a former friend gets involved, she knew she had to tell the truth because she didn't want her friend to get hurt the way that she did. It took a lot of strength for Melinda to break her silence, and her friend shunned her for it anyways. Although it works out in the end of the story, it was still hard for Melinda to do the right thing and try to protect someone who had ignored her all year.

I think this is a good book for high school students to read because it is honest and exposes that situations like those that Melinda face do happen to people all the time, and sometimes it is really hard for the victims of such violence to take a stand and let the truth out.

To Purchase: Amazon

Other Books By This Author: Wintergirls (2009), Twisted (2007), Catalyst (2002)

Currently Reading: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Books Read in 2011: 21

1 comment:

Italia said...

This honestly is one of my favorite books. It comes straight from Melinda's point of view. She gets stronger and stronger throughout the year and what really kept me on my feet was how people treated her and she just kept strong and silent. When she revealed what had happened at the end of the summer party it was the best part of the book because she still kept strong even though no one believed her.