Speak

January 28, 2017

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson.

Summary:

Melinda’s place in the high-school hierarchy was set before she ever set foot in the building. Because of the shame of calling the police on a wild summer party, none of her friends will speak to her, and Melinda is alone except for the friendly new girl. Confused by her own thoughts, wounded by past events and despairing of any hope for highschool, Melinda isolates herself further, withdrawing into her mind and becoming more and more silent. Unless she can find new depths of resolution within herself she will vanish into the background for the rest of highschool – or perhaps collapse in on herself under the confusion and depression she fights.

My Thoughts:

There’s no gorgeous prose or rich-drawn multi-character arcs or exciting action scenes. Nothing I might normally look for. But that’s partly why the power of this painful, plain, and even occasionally funny story caught me. It’s told in a teenage girl’s voice, a girl I can identify with and imagine being, even as she retreats into silence and confusion. By the time it was revealed what had really happened to her, I had already guessed – but this didn’t abate the strength and pain of the moment one whit. Melinda feels like a real girl, fighting real problems in a normal life, and I think not one in ten authors really achieves this, especially in an interesting manner.

Content Review:

Sexual content: (TRIGGER WARNING)

MC speaking of a group of cheerleaders says “(It must be a miracle.) How else could they sleep with the football team on Saturday night and be reincarnated as virgin goddesses on Monday morning?” She also suggests said cheerleaders get “group rate abortions”. Some kissing observed. Boy forcibly kisses the main character. “Rumor – he sleeps with anything.” (TW) The main character gets drunk at her first highschool party and is raped by a highschool boy.

Language: 9 scatological terms, 4 derogatory, 2 d***, 1 ***h*le

Violence: Character faints and hits her head. A character cuts her thumb. There is low level but constant bullying, physically but also socially. See entry above for some sexual violence.

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