Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (October 22, 1999)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I had very high expectations from this book and although I loved it I wouldn’t say it was exceptional.
Speak is about a teenage girl Melinda who is an outcast at school. She is struggling to find her voice which was silenced by something that happened to her at a summer party. I am guessing everyone knows what it is, I won’t mention it here for the few who don’t. Although there are hints as to what exactly happened and it is quite easy to guess, that is really not the purpose of the book.
I’s about not blaming yourself, not let the guilt take you down and silence you forever. The writing was exceptional, that was the only thing that make me go through the book because at times the book does get boring. It’s just Melinda complaining about her parents, her friends, the cheerleaders, the jocks and basically everyone around. And I do think that it is necessary to show the state of mind of a teenager who has gone through a traumatic situation. But sometimes it does get a little too much. But inspite of all this I did love Melinda’s voice, her observations were very funny and sarcastic at times which made for good reading.
Besides I think the ending was very neatly wrapped up, a little too neat. I am all for neat endings but for a topic like this it was a little unbelievable. How many girls get to this even? Anyway, it’s still a good book for teenagers. I loved it but it didn’t blow my mind the way it did for so many others.
I think part of the reason why this doesn’t seem so new anymore is because it started something in YA – or so I have been told, because I only read it this year 😛 But yeah, its sheer emotional honesty in dealing with the topic it deals with was not very common then.
Ya the theme doesn’t sound new I agree with Nymeth and it did start that phase of YA books but it definitely is a very honest approach.
Her constant complaining is explainable as she never opens her mouth to say things she wants and thus all her feelings are put forth for us to read and what goes on in a person’s mind is not always intelligent , they are just random honest thoughts 🙂 I can’t seem to understand why they keep banning this book.
After I watched the movie Starring Kirsten Stewart I liked the book even more.
I have been tempted by this book on several occasions, but I think my reaction will be similar to yours. I may read it if I spot a copy at the library, but I’m not going to rush out to buy it.
Thanks for your great review, Violet. This sounds like such a good book even despite it not being quite as wonderful as you might have hoped.
I don’t like neatly tied endings for the most part. I like things to be more realistic. Sounds like an interesting book, though. I had no idea it was a banned book or that there is a movie.
This has been on my wishlist for a while because I loved the film. Great review, hun. I’m glad, overall, it didn’t disappoint you.
I think I like this one more than you did. I’m anxious to read more of Anderson’s work now.
It looks like you’ve been on a bit of a YA kick recently. I don’t know about this book, whining tends to annoy me. =/