“Speak” is a young adult novel written by Laurie Halse Anderson. It was first published in 1999 and the movie was released in 2004, with Kristen Stewart playing the lead role.
Summary: “Speak” is about Melinda Sordino, who is raped by one of her classmates at a party, the summer before her freshman year of high school starts. Melinda calls 911, but gets scared and leaves the party. The police shows up and some people get arrested. Melinda doesn’t tell anyone what happened to her.
She starts High School as an outcast since all her old friends left her, because she called the police. She remains silent and sinks into depression. Melinda then meets Heather, a new girl, who later ditches her for the “popular” girls at Merryweather High. As Melinda’s depression deepens, she begins to skip school, withdrawing from her already distant parents and her teachers, who see her silence as means of getting “attention”. She later befriends her classmate David Petrakis, who encourages her to speak up for herself. But Melinda is scared of telling people, scared that no one will believe her. She won’t speak about it, she accpets that her friends don’t talk to her anymore and she adjustes to the fact that she is kind of on her own. Art Class kind of ‘saves’ her. It’s her favorite subject and it helps her to get through the day.
And in the end, she finally speaks.
The book is about a very difficult topic. Rape.
The message of the book is pretty strong. We need to speak up for ourselves, because chances are, that no one else will do it for us. People don’t ask why you are so quiet, they just assume things and start rumours. Being raped can be extremely traumatizing.
I like the message of the novel, and the topic is definitely interesting and not easy. I am personally not a big fan of Anderson’s writing style. I don’t like the way she writes conversations, it seemed a little dull to me. I am more the ‘John-Green-kind-of-Girl’. I like knowing what people look like while they’re saying something, what are they doing with their hands? What is their face expression? So that was something that I didn’t like so much. The book is definitely worth reading, but it’s not a loss if you don’t. I think if John Green had written that book, it would’ve knocked my socks off. I haven’t read any other books of her, so this is just my opinon based on “Speak”. She could have made more out of this book, for my liking, it’s not deep enough. Rape is a tough topic, and she should’ve gotten deeper into the rape thing, the feelings & emotions.
I know that this book is read as well as in English classes, as well as in German classes, so if we just assume that the book was written for school classes, the writing style is pretty good. It’s easy to read, which is good when you read it as a foreign language, or something. But as a novel, I think it’s too easy written and not my style at all. It’s better as a High School / Middle School novel, than a YA Novel. I think it’s good that a book like this is read at school, it’s important to teach children that sometimes, people around us are suffering and they’re too scared to speak up.
Soooo, if I had to rate the book I would give it 5 out of 10 Stars.
Or if I had to rate it based on my friend’s scale (Hi Kayleigh)
John green level +++ | amazing | fab | great | good | meh | bad | awful | crappy | the worst | twilight level
I would say “Speak” is a “good”
You can find my Movie Review about “Speak” HERE