Contemporary Conversations Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: April 20, 2006
198 pages
Source/Edition: Bought, Paperback
Summary provided by Goodreads:

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

Review

3stars

We’re introduced to Melinda, who hasn’t spoken in a long time and no one knows why. The book is written in her point of view so we get to see and sort of feel her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. All we know is that all of her friends have left her behind because they blamed her for ruining a party — pretty shallow if you ask me. I was so mad at everyone here, at her “friends”, her parents, and her peers. It was so frustrating because they thought she was just seeking attention. I know that it’s hard to get through when she isn’t speaking and telling you what’s wrong but don’t degrade the situation. I’ve been through depression and I hated being told that it was just a phase or that it was all for attention — hence me never telling anyone because I knew that’s how some would have perceived it.

With the writing style of going back and forth in time, we eventually get to see why Melinda called the cops. I thought that it was pretty obvious why she did but that might just be me.  I thought that the ending was fair. I was glad that it was all out in the open and Melinda finally got support where she needed it. It was a short book, not even 200 pages but it felt longer. I wasn’t in love with the writing, some came off bland, some parts bored me, and sometimes I couldn’t connect with Melinda. The story was great though (not great as in happy because it does focus on PTSD, depression, and rape). Intriguing is probably a better word to describe it. I liked it but didn’t love it. It does send out a good message for the target audience — teenagers.

xoxoanj

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