Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review--Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

You know how last week I wrote a post about soul and mentioned I'd be doing a review of the book that gave me the lightbulb moment?  Well, SPEAK is that book.

I'm the kind of person who likes to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  I like to try to understand why a person believes the way he/she does by getting as much information as possible about the subject.  So when all this drama concerning a particular gentleman who claimed SPEAK contained scenes of soft core porn started surfacing around the internet, I decided I needed to read the book to understand why he might have come to that conclusion.

Well let me tell you, dear readers, I really wish this man had read the book.  I'm afraid his fears might have been the result of hearsay rather than firsthand knowledge because SPEAK is less about rape and more about the despair, loneliness, terror, and utter depression that comes from something like that happening to a person.  And it was written beautifully.  I actually cried while reading this book and it's been years since a book has made me shed a tear.  Ms. Anderson adequately dredged up every horrible memory of my own to trigger my own despair to sympathize with poor Melinda Sordino.

And those two rape scenes the gentleman showed particular concern over?  Not even remotely graphic.  Chilling yes, but not sexually graphic.  This is a book that is perfectly appropriate for the entire 12-18 year old range of YA.  I, personally, would not restrict any teenager from reading it because kids at that age need to know that everyone suffers one way or another during those hormone driven years of school.  This book would be helpful to ANYONE, not just rape victims.

If you haven't read SPEAK yet, I highly suggest you do so.

~Emily White


  1. I agree Emily. We read this book, probably 8-9 years ago for book club. I can't understand the small minds that would call this pornography. In fact now that many of my book club members daughters are in that age range, we've thought about reading it again with them.

  2. i swear sometimes we are so in sync. i didn't want to jump on the bandwagon without being informed too. but i had to wait for speak to get back to our little library. just checked it out friday. haven't gotten a chance to crack it open yet (i really need to read a different one first) but it's good to know it has the emily seal of approval. :)
    i disagree with banning too. i understand parental restriction- especially for younger kids- but banning... not good.

  3. I will check this book out. Thank you for the post.

    As far as the other blog and your reasons for this one, I agree, your name in the title is important. If someone wants your book(s) and can't remember anything except your name, they can search for you. Now you need to use a sticky every time you comment that will make Google recognize you and bring you to the top of its search engines.

    Google wouldn't let me do that here. I will post it on Tuesday, tomorrow, 10/5/10...

    I am now number one on Google search.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  4. Interesting how some people want to ban books and declare them offensive w/o reading them! How can they do that?? At least if you object, have a solid reason for doing so, not an uninformed opinion.

  5. Melissa--I think it's human nature for people to jump to conclusions. We have a tendency to think we know everything about a subject, rather than seek to learn. Unfortunately, this gentleman did just that. It is a shame he didn't read the book.

    aspiring_x--*excellent* I say in my Mr. Burns voice. :P We're just two peas in a pod! ;) And yes, I think parents have the right to tell their kids no, but no one should have the right to tell someone else's kids no.

    N.R. Williams--And how might one sticky? I must admit I'm still trying to figure all this tech stuff out, so if you could help me with that, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Carol--It is a shame. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who form opinions without gathering adequate information.

    Thanks for your comments!

  6. I'm reading it now...haven't gotten to the end yet, but I'm ready for the main character to make that guy PAY for what he did to her. I didn't realize it was a movie and that the book was over a decade old. It is pretty timeless and holds up well. I like it so much, I can say that I'll be looking for more books by the author when I finish.


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