Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Warning: This review is going to be a little different in format than the others I’ve done.

My thoughts:
Some books are afraid to touch upon the rougher aspects of life. Some books prefer just to gloss over them and pretend that these things don’t happen, but they do and they happen every day. So many young women and young men face these issues every day. Divorce. Rape. Eating disorders. Death. Suicide.

These things are real, but remained untouched by many who’d prefer just to ignore this side of reality. Speak is not one of those books. Speak is written by Laurie Halse Anderson, an author who is willing to touch upon the harsher sides of life.

In Speak, the novel talks about a young girl who was raped at the age of thirteen and her struggle to overcome this tragic event. This book poignantly portrays how hard it is for these victims to overcome these terrible acts of violence.

This book resonates with me. It’s powerful and moving. I love this book. Many say it’s simply too depressing and that it shouldn’t be read, but it’s beautiful. I read this book my junior year in high school for an assigned class and fell in love with it. Since reading this book I’ve read Wintergirls and Catalyst.

Memorable quotes/lines:
This book isn’t powerful because of the quotes, but because of the characters and the themes that are explored; however, I’ll still list some quotes here. I chose the ones I liked and the ones I thought wouldn’t give away the story.

·         It’s easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communicating and expressing your feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say. ~pg 9
·         My room belongs to an alien. It’s a postcard of who I was in fifth grade. ~ pg 15
·         I am a good actor. I have a whole range of smiles. I use the shy, look-up-through the bangs smile for staff members, and the crinkly-eye smile with a quick shake of my head if a teacher asks me for an answer. If my parents want to know how school went, I flash my eyebrows upward and shrug my shoulders. If I drop out of high school, I could be a mime. ~pg 33
·         I have never heard a more eloquent silence. ~pg 57
·         It’s Nathaniel Hawthorne month in English. Poor Nathaniel. Does he know what they’ve done to him? We are reading The Scarlet Letter one sentence at a time, tearing it up and chewing on its bones….It’s all about Symbolism. Why couldn’t he just say what he meant? Would they pin scarlet letters on his chest? B for Blunt, S for Straightforward? ~pg 100 (English major remember? Of course I love this one.)

This is a book that I think everybody should read. It’s not graphic, it’s not crude, it’s reality. This is what is going on in the world around us. We should be willing to open our eyes and realize that these things to happen. In the back of Speak, Anderson shares that “according to the US Department of Justice, 44% of rape victims are under the age of 18, and 66% of those victims are between the ages of 12-15.
Speak is a book that is brave enough to tell the truth, when so many stay silent. A beautiful book, that I’m not going to rate, because it’s too beautiful and powerful to stick stars on.
Danica Page


  1. I absolutely LOVE this book! I literally just finished it yesterday and posted my review. I love the quotes you chose, they're definitely powerful. I think this is a really great book for all young adults, and adult adults. Melinda's parents definitely make me want to strive to be a good mom and take the time to listen to my children. (my future children). I loved this book :)

  2. Anna,

    I'm so glad that you love this book. It is a beautiful book. I'm also glad you liked the quotes I chose.

    Yes, Melinda's parents do make me want to be a better mom to my future children too.

    ~Danica Page

  3. Speak is an amazing novel of a girl who is hurt, but learns to live again. Through an art project, she learns how to deal with what happened.

  4. @Denmark, yep that's a great summary.

  5. You have a nice review! Here's mine: Have a nice day!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. Your review was excellent. I loved reading what you thought about Speak. It is a powerful book.


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