Friday, January 26, 2007

[Book Review] SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fiction/Coming of Age

Heather Lawson reviews SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999)

This is one of the funniest books I have ever read about high school. It is also one of the saddest. For anyone who enjoys writers who can intertwine humor and heartbreak in an astonishing manner, this book is for you.

Ninth grader Melinda Sordino is ostracized by classmates after calling the police at a summer party. Faced with cruel classmates and parents who are too busy with their jobs and themselves to recognize their daughter's spiral into despair, Melinda finds sanctuary in an unused maintenance closet and in art class. Her art teacher, Mr. Freeman, who recognizes her intelligence and worsening pain, is the one person who reaches out to help her. Fearing her best friend may be placed in a similar situation, she finally speaks out. Of course, you will have to read the book to learn more.

The author views teachers, as well as school in general, in an intelligent and sensitive manner. There are hilarious descriptions of teachers, such as the Spanish teacher miming lessons because of her determination not to speak English in class. Also, History classes that never make it to the present are satirized. "We got to World War I in the seventh grade - who knew there had been a war with the whole world?" Not surprising, this book was a finalist for the National Book Award.

Heather Lawson, Public Services

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I enjoyed the humor and high school outlook.
I read it in one day!
i thought the book was a good book to relate to other then the part about what happened to her.. (im not going to say just in case some of you didnt read it)

Heather Lawson has provided a good review of the book it felt like reading a small portion of the book. I believe the book is a very good one because of its impact it can put into people's minds that won't speak up for themselves. Its a good book to read. Nice review!
Reading Speak made me feel how it feels to have no friends
Reading speak also made me feel how it feels to have no friends. And it was a great book.
I had great sympathy for the main character. My circumstances weren't quite as severe, but I do understand being friendless and alienated in high school.
I had heard about teenage girls going through this during their trouble-some years, but I never really knew it was this deep. After reading this book, i had and still have a new outlook on people. I never treated people as if they were small because i had been there once before and now i back those people up whenever they are in need. Girls that have been messed with and abused should be givin a chance to SPEAK and let express their feelings. Any girl could relate to this book even if they have never been raped or been in the "same" situation as the main character. The author did an impectable job capturing the essence of a teenage girls life. I may only be in 8th grade... but i think she did a great job writing about the beginning of high school. This book is by far one of the most inspiring pieces of litature i've ever read. Glad that i picked it up in the bookstore.
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