Saturday, March 05, 2005

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is the type of book I would like, even if it was written poorly. An "issue book" for Young Adults, I'm not really sure if the intended readership would be as gung-ho for it as I. But as a fellow survivor, like the protagonist, I can't help but relive some of my own experiences even as I read about hers.

The story, more or less like the blurb portrays it: A school year in the life of 9th grader Melinda, who loses all of her friends because she called the cops (and got everyone busted) at a party at the end of the summer before the year (and the story begins). We take a leisurely stroll to finding out what happened at that party, during which Melinda's amusing cynical observations about cliques and HS life make for amusing reading. But underneath her sarcasm, there is a achingly painful story to be revealed. And an ending that I really didn't see coming.

Anderson doesn't have a lot of poetry in her writing and there are few really memorable quotes, but the story is engrossing.

As an adult, it is hard to watch a character suffering so much pain, needing so much to reach out for help, and yet denying herself the help that she needs. However, as much as I may hate watching it happen, I have to admit that it rings very true. It took me a decade before I talked about it, so Melinda's 9 months really seems like breakneck speed.

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