Book Review – Speak

speak

Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Length: 208

Rating: 5 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

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 – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Ok, this book is going down as 1 of the top 3 books I have read this year. I basically breathed this book in and I hope to never ever let it go.

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.

Its so brutally honest about the way life can be in high school, and deals with a very serious topic without undermining it or making light of it. You can feel the main characters strength grow as she learns to deal with what has happened to her life and you just never want her to stop talking. I cannot accurately portray my feelings in such a small place. It more than moved me. So please forgive me if this review doesn’t accurately tell you anything, and its just me going on about how it made me feel the entire time.

All the characters had their purpose. No matter who you were/are in school, you can recognise each of the characters that were presented to you. The friend who for reasons beyond your knowledge, have undergone a personality change and no longer speaks to you. The friend you know is only with you until someone they consider better comes along. And then of course the pack mentality of the group, going along with a story and accepting it as fact without ever knowing for sure all the details because they have not spoken to all the people involved.

While not all characters in this book are featured a lot and then could be considered ‘underdeveloped,’ they all serve a purpose and are not just in the book to build word count. So to me this provided a book of well developed and interesting characters.

The plot of the story is what really got me going. The entire time I hurt for our main character. Being so widely hated and tormented, even by people who were supposed to be there for her, over something she was completely in the right for. But from memory no one she would have told because they were supposed to be there for her even asked her why she called the police to come and break up the party. Of course then one outcome is her probably feeling guilt about and shame about what had happened and then not speaking up about what happened.

The writing style was also very very powerful. Melinda’s voice as the narrator goes from being someone who is just as ‘normal’ as everyone else. At no point does she try to sway you really like or hate herself or anyone else more than the other, she is just getting through school the best way she can think of. But then at other parts of the story the narration/writing goes spiralling down with her in her moments of panic and fear that she has yet to really work through. As someone who has in the past and will probably will for the rest of my life, suffered from panic attacks, I felt for her. Most her moments happen in public and I cannot imagine feeling something like that coming and trying to make it so no one notices how badly you are struggling for breathe and your heart beating so fast it hurts.

I am getting better at smiling when people expect it.

If it was not clear I think everyone should read this book. Some of you won’t like it. You may think the topic is over done and that Melinda is freaking out over nothing. Well she isn’t and you should get a new perspective. This is a topic that needs to be read about in this way. The subject matter isn’t in there to try and add ‘depth’ or something to our main character. Its there to tell a very true portrait of how these things can be, and thusly everyone should at least give the book a go so that people can be that little bit better educated about not jumping on the voice of the crowd without knowledge, about how this can effect people. Its a quick read and very worth it.

Read it.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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