18 November 2008

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Platinum Edition)

Melinda Sordino has a terrible secret. Something happened to her at a summer party and when she tried to report it, she became the school outcast. All of her "friends" turned their backs on her, the adults in her life effectively ignore her and everyone else simply stops "listening". So, Melinda stops speaking. When everyone seems to turn a deaf ear, when everyone seems to stop caring, one teacher reaches out to her-- her art teacher, Mr. Freeman. Eventually, Melinda finds strength inside of her to defend herself and tell her secret, even when her best friend initially refuses to believe her.
Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak is a haunting tale of isolation-- self-imposed or otherwise-- and the desire to have someone notice and care about the hell one girl was dealing with. Melinda is a believable character to whom girls or victims in general can relate. (Let's face it, this can happen to boys too, read Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson's Target for a boy's perspective.)
I found it DEVASTATING that most of the adults in Melinda's life were too busy to care about what was happening to her, including her own parents. The adults in her life simply chalked her moodiness, silence and general apathy to being an angtsy teenage girl. I did rally behind Mr. Freeman when he attempted to reach out to Melinda through Art. Kudos to him for that!
One of my favorite aspects of this book has to be that Melinda finds her courage and strength from a poster of Maya Angelou-- a woman who shares a similar frightening experience. Though Melinda doesn't know her personally, she is able to harness strength and find her voice again. And this time when she Speaks, someone finally listens.

1 comment:

Ελλάδα said...

Speak is about a young teenage girl who was raped, and how she learns to deal with it afterwords. This book really builds understanding for rape victims, and how they feel after that traumatic event. It is impossible to understand what it feels like to be raped, but Anderson manages to convey the hurt, anger, and denial following the rape, and the road to acceptance and healing. It not only alters your view of trauma victims, but it alters your view of the human spirit and how we progress. This book revolves around a central theme of feeling scared, but eventually being able to overcome that fear; something every person can relate to. Speak gives you insight into how to overcome your fears, whether they originate from something as scarring as rape or as simple as being shy.


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