Friday, May 14, 2010

Melinda learns to in SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

OK Junkies, so Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson has been on my radar for a while, but there were a few reasons that I resisted reading it.

  1. The cover kind of creeped me out.
  2. I knew it was about rape.
  3. I knew Kristen Stewart starred in a Lifetime movie version of the book.
  4. The students in my remedial reading class said it was boring.
  5. I flipped through the pages and it LOOKED boring.
I know, "don't judge a book by its cover" but I do, Junkies, I do, I can't help it.  I get this idea in my head about books that I haven't read.  But sometimes it's fun to be proven wrong.  

Why didn't anyone ever tell me that this book is funny?  I mean I guess it's kind of weird to be all "Hey, there's this book that had me laughing out loud.  It's great.  It's about this teenage girl who's raped at a party..."

The subject matter and Lifetime movie thing really had me thinking Speak would read like an after-school special.  Boy, was I wrong.

And I think the reason my reluctant readers found it boring is because there's hardly any dialogue.  That's the whole point, Melinda doesn't speak.  She's lost her voice and she struggles to find it through art (hence the creepy cover).  The lack of dialogue makes the unread page appear boring (brain says: eek, too much text!)

But Melinda's take on the world is anything but boring.  I was laughing by the third page with her list of "Ten lies they tell you in high school."  Melinda's cynicism is dark and hilarious as she blossoms into heroine-hood. 

So, Junkies, read Speak, it's funny--not boring.


  1. Hey Alyson !
    I read Speak last summer (urm, for reason 3 because I like reading books first and 2) and I entirely loved it !
    Melinda is such a strong character and her story is such an important one to read...
    Anyways, thanks for your article ;-)
    Cheers !

  2. I have this one on my TBR list. Very interesting that it has minimum dialogue, very interesting.

    I enjoyed your review.

  3. I haven't read this one, but it's on my TBR pile too. Nice review!

  4. Caroline, thanks! I agree that Melinda's story is an important one.

    Marce and bclement, thanks, I'd love to hear what you think when you read it.

  5. Hey Alyson! I've been following your posts (gosh that sonds so stalkerish) for a while, and I love your style! I gave you an award on my blog, so I hope you enjoy! :) stay awesome!