Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Summery:
Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

Movie-based-on-the-book Trailer:

Book Review:
Raw. Emotional. Honest. Those are just a few of the many words that I would chose to describe Speak. I initially picked up this book in honor of banned books week (though, I know I'm running late at this point), expecting a violent, horrific story about rape. Instead, I read an emotional journey that Melinda took, exercising her right not to speak. Do I agree with all the choices she made? No. But that's life isn't it? Nothing's entirely perfect. Do I respect the choices she made in effort to cope with life events? Yes. Reading Speak took me back to the halls of high school and the hell they contain. Reading Speak was like breathing fresh air. Though sometimes raw, Melinda's story was honest, brave, and captivating. I highly recommend this one if you haven't already read it. For more information, check out Laurie Halse Anderson's website, found here.

Favorite Quote (Believe me, there are many to choose from):
"The First Ten Lies They Tell You In High School
1. We are here to help you.
2. You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings.
3. The dress code will be enforced.
4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds.
5. Our football team will win the championship this year.
6. We expect more of you here.
7. Guidance counselors are always available to listen.
8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind.
9. Your locker combination is private.
10. These will be the years you look back on fondly. " (p. 5-6)

Cover Art Commentary:
The cover of this book is rich with meaning. Most obviously, the girl has no mouth to "speak" from. The tree covering the girls face is symbolic to the story in more ways than one. Also, you'll note the her face softly fades into the background. Simple, yet powerful, this cover art offers a great amount of information for those who seek it.

Overall Rating:


  1. Awww. So I wasn't really ever sold on this book (subject matter) but, seriously, you've certainly piqued my interest! Go Lily!

  2. Wow. I had no idea it's a film. I'm totally going to rent it. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention.

  3. PS I agree with Tipsy, you're the first to really peak my interest in this novel.

  4. i just read this one last weekend and have yet to write my review for it, but i totally agree with you on every point. and now that i've read it, i LOVE the cover.

  5. Read this earlier this year and really want to watch the movie someday. Hope it lives up to the book.

  6. Sounds great, can't wait to read it.

  7. Kristen Stewart for the movie? How disappointing. :(

    This book has been a classic for a long time. I remember all my friends discovered it at once (it may have been the release year: 1999) and shared it with everyone... It was just one of those book.s :)

  8. Wow, came back after some research: I can't believe they made the movie in 2005. I hadn't heard about it at all. I'm still completely skeptical about Stewart's acting skills though--and sort of shying away from the idea of a movie at all, but...

    I don't suppose you've seen it?

  9. I think they did a amazing job with the trailer. I thought the book was well thought out and really hit a spot that is hard for an author to reach a huge audience.

    I have a review of Speak @ Steampunkery & Book Reviews.

    Mad Scientist