Speak is a young-adult novel by Laurie Halse Anderson published in 1999. It’s a New York Time’s Best-Seller. Speak is on many high school English curriculum’s but is on the ALA’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books List. Its critics say it should be categorized as “soft-porn” while its supporters say it’s subject matter, the trauma caused by rape, is something young adults should be exposed to. A movie adaptation came out in 2004 starring Kristen Stewart (you know, before the whole Twilight thing…)
Synopsis: After busting an end-of-summer party and not saying why, Melinda Sordino is ostracized by her peers. Unable to talk about what happened to her, Melinda nearly stops speaking all together, only expressing herself through her art projects for Mr. Freeman’s class. This expression leads to her slowly coming to terms with what happened to her and finally being able to speak about it.
My take: This was a very heavy novel. It wasn’t sweet torture but pure agony. It fucked me up. I can’t describe it any other way. That being said, it’s probably one of my all time favorite books. I didn’t read it for class like many of my peers. It’s a very simply written book. It’s very short. But it has so much power and impact. I have so much respect for it. I don’t know if I can even properly articulate why I love this book so much because I know that I will never do it justice. I honestly felt like I was right there with Melinda Sordino, carrying this burden and pain and weight on my shoulders without being able to talk about it. So afraid of what would happen if she did. Coming to terms with the rape and finally being able to call out her rapist. It was so well written and fantastic and I loved every second of this novel. I would recommend this book to everybody no matter their age. It’s heavy and sad but so worth the read.