Apr 5, 2014

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.
"Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson's powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

 

I borrowed the summary from Amazon. I think Speak is a book that should be read by as many young women and men as possible. It's a book about rape. After Melinda's been raped she feels very depressed. Her parents aren't the most loving an sensitive people, all of her friends have abandoned her and she's lonely and alone. Things are going downhill in school and it's taking a long time before people around her see that something's going on. Instead they judge. 
Speak is a very realistic story in my opinion. It's never right when someone touches you against your will and speaking about it is important. It helps to tell the story, to talk about it and to heal. A lot of rape victims never tell their secret, because they can't or they're too afraid. It takes courage to do so. Speak shows that even if nothing seems to be right anymore there is a way to survive. It's a book of support and of empathy which is very much needed. Speak is a beautiful and heartbreaking story that should be on the curriculum in every high school.

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