Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book Review- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda starts high school alienated from her friends for calling the police at a party over the summer. The year is spent alone and in silence until she finds her voice and the strength to speak about what happened at that party.

The writing style is a bit stunted and abrupt, which was a bit hard to get used to, but once the story gets going and I started understanding the character better, it becomes right. It fits.

I liked that you didn't know what causes Melinda's behavior change and silence until later in the book. It shows how parents, teachers, friends can misinterpret a person's behavior and actions as being "difficult" rather than finding out the cause. As a teacher, this is a great reminder that you never know what has happened or is happening to a student when they are not in your care.


YA Book Challenge


  1. I probably shouldn't have seen the movie before reading the book. The movie sure made me cry though!

  2. I haven't seen the movie...after reading the book I both want to see it and don't want to see it.

    I agree that parts of the narrative were a bit "jumpy" and disjointed, but it definitely fits with the character we're attached to.

    It's a powerful book with a great narrative style that I think really exemplifies the problem Melinda's dealing with and the way society is pushing it under the rug and creating deeper problems for her.

    I'm looking forward to reading more of Anderson's work.

  3. I read some where that the movie can be found on YouTube. I haven't gone to look for it, though.

    I will definitely be reading more of her books.

  4. I love this book! And I think it gets better with re-reading. I read it aloud (though it's not the easiest read-aloud) to a group of teachers, and when I got to the Thanksgiving chapter, I laughed so hard I couldn't keep going--frustrating to my audience, because they didn't know what was so funny.

    I wore out my paperback, and when I described my book's condition, a vendor at an NCTE convention took pity and gave me the library-bound display copy.

  5. Jena-The Thanksgiving chapter was one of my favorites. The movie version was spot on.

  6. I loved the Thanksgiving chapter, too. And you're right--the style does fit after a while even though it seems brusque at first.

    I also loved the scene where she takes the turkey bones and makes that strange, haunting piece of art, with the Barbie doll with the tape over its mouth.

  7. This book was an easy read and a hard read at the same time. The author did an excellent job of pulling me into the mind of a high school "outcast" and all the emotional baggage that goes with it. In addition to an excellent portrayal of high school and the dramas that go with it, she also managed to effectively give our narrator struggles and trials that really pulled on my emotions and made everything all the more real. And she did so without making any of it feel cheap or contrived. The honesty is absolutely real, which can make it frightening. The author included a note on "censorship" in the back of my edition. I suspect there are parents and teachers who would not want their kids reading this book. To them, I would ask if they actually read the book. There is nothing objectionable in language, no graphic references, nothing. On the contrary, this book serves as a great eye-opener to teenagers that they are not alone in their struggles and their feelings of alienation and separation. And to those going through even deeper struggles like Melinda in the book, this novel can provide hope that they can overcome. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, to parents, and to anybody who has survived high school.

  8. You have a nice review! Here's mine: Have a nice day!


Thanks for taking the time to comment! :)