Laurie Halse Anderson
October 22nd 1999
After Melinda goes through a traumatic and violent incident at a summer party, she calls the cops and becomes a social outcast. Her freshman year is a disaster. As time passes, she stops talking--except through her paintings in art class. Her healing process has just begun when her perpetrator attacks again. Only this time, she doesn't keep silent.
I really am at a loss for words as to what to say about Speak. If not one of the best books that I've read, it's one of the most important. And it's probably the reason that I like contemporaries so much. Because, while Paranormals and fantasies are all good fun and full of hot boys and over dramatic girls, I prefer that realism, and the characters, and the fact that while not a lot actually happens, so much can just happen in the development of the characters. And I just feel so glad for them when they finally make that breakthrough, that realization, that things will get better.
And that was exactly how I felt with Melinda. Because Melinda is bright, and she's funny (seriously, she had me laughing quite a bit) and a terrible thing happened to her. And, understandably, this terrible thing got to her, and she started to not talk to people, being antisocial, not caring about school. But she did start to move on. With the help of art and learning how to express herself in ways other than words, she started to move on. And become the funny, bright girl she is all the time.
But as great as Melinda is, and as sweet as David is, (David Petrakis, the nice kid who's not an arsehole and becomes Melinda's friend), and cool as Mr Freeman was, there were a lot of arse's in this book. And while I know they're not two dimensional and whatnot, for the sake of this review and my need to bitch, they are. First of all, her parents! They were just blind! Shouting at Melinda, pressuring Melinda just because her grades weren't great. Did they not think her strange behaviour meant something was wrong? And Heather. I practically cheered when Melinda told Heather off. She was nice, but so darn manipulative! And doing all that pouty face stuff when she didn't get what she wanted, and getting sad because she wasn't freaking POPULAR. Idiot. Mr. Neck. Horrible, crazy, proud, arrogant, arsehole. And finally, who I think we can all agree is the king of arseholes, Andy. Evans. Stupid bastard goes about raping innocent 13 years olds at high school parties, then dates said girls friend and, when the truth comes out, completely denies it AND tries it again. I HOPE that girls hockey team made it so no girl with eyes would ever even THINK about going out with him. BASTARD. *sits down to chill* Sorry about that... ;)
Speak is a funny, clever, moving book about the effects that sexual assault can have on a person, and moving on from it. A book that so many people should read, I can't even believe people would want it banned. 5 stars :D