This book hurts, not because it was awful, but because it could be any school in America. It could've, and was, my high school. Although I was fortunate to not experience what the protagonist, Melinda, experienced, high school was far from a pleasant time in my life. Laurie Halse Anderson accurately describes how horrible high school can be if you break one, or, more of the social codes, and how cruel teenagers can be.
It can be a difficult read, or listen, but it is well worth it. I highly recommend listening to it.
Why is it so traumatic, I have just been through the toughest year of my life trying to deal with the death of my Love and my father and there have been many times when I thought that being dead myself would surely be better than trying to deal with the death of two people that were a significant part of my life and all the misery that went with it. What I want to know is, what is the point of grief, why is it so awful to the point that you feel your own life is not worth living, why is the experience so shocking and what do we really gain from it. I know I am not the same person and that everything is different now, I don't view that as a bad thing really but what it took me to get to the other side of this is something I find hard to deal with and I wonder what your thoughts are on grief? Can we ignore it and just get on with our lives because some people seem able to do that, whereas I couldn't carry on, I couldn't even function at all for months and months. Maybe that's a tough journey
Speak is a quick read, and a compelling read, and will give you the feels in a way that is uncomfortable and spot-on.
If you can believe it, this is Laurie Halse Anderson's debut novel (I can't- the author has such an excellent, nuanced grip on dialogue, both external and internal, imagery, high school politics, adult folly, and dramatic tension).
I probably can't say enough positive things about this book. I read it in 2 days, and had a hard time putting it down to go to work and sleep. It made me cry, in part because of the story, and in part because Melinda's voice is so authentic. It took me straight back to high school, in a way that no other contemporary YA has ever done before.
It's also uniquely awesome in that the heroine's journey is a solo one. She must do all the legwork in dealing and healing, just like real life (no magic bullets, no fairytale advice, no intervening savior). It's emotional and difficult and compelling, and the end gave me a moment of pure triumph.
Read it. Let your teenage kids read it. Make your parents read it (assuming they enjoy contemporary YA). If Laurie Halse Anderson's other novels are this good, she'll be on my forever-favorite-authors list.
Well written and good narration. This certainly has its darker moments but the author does a great job of keeping you enthralled. This is a shorter audiobook, only 4 discs, but I did not want to stop. This book makes you feel.
Speak is like a well produced and directed Lifetime movie. Although the story is built around a tragedy that forces the main character to silence her voice as a coping mechanism, Anderson keeps the reader invested through magnificent storytelling.
I first became a fan of Anderson by way of Fever, 1783 and that novel made me a fan of historical fiction. The facts were consumed in the fiction, which made the story and the genre very tolerable. However her novel Chains had the opposite effect. It seemed more researched driven than story driven and that made me hesitant to read another Anderson piece.
Speak however is so well written and meaningful. I just learned it was her first novel and that makes it even more impressive. Melinda experiences a horrific act at the end of the summer and it affects her whole freshmen year of high school, from grades to peer interactions. Her parents are struggling to keep their deteriorating relationship intact so they are clueless to the signs of Mel’s depression. With the assistance of her art teacher’s guidance to complete a project, Melinda finds her ability to speak.
Wow! I wish they had books like this when I was in high school--or maybe they did and I just missed them all. What an amazing book that every 9th grader should read.
It's hard to review without giving away too much, but you get a very interesting view of high school from the eyes of a 9th grader. To me it's the view I see now as an adult, looking back at my high school days. I think most people will be able to identify with the lead character, at least bits of her.
Most of the book is dark and depressing. I read it in two days and was in a funk for both of those days so beware.
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