Friday, April 27, 2012

11/40: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute: Andy Evans. He's a senior at Melinda's high school, and Melinda hasn't been able to speak clearly since the Incident with him at the senior party last August

This book had a lot of hype around it. I don't get it. I understand when it came out it was on a lot of banned book lists because of the touchy subject matter. There is something to be said for that and I give props to Anderson for writing a book on something a lot of people won't talk about.

The writing was irritating. I felt like there were incomplete thoughts and paragraphs that ended when there was more to it. I know that it's told from a ninth-grader point of view, but I couldn't get past that I felt the sentences were choppy and seemed fragmented. I was also annoyed with the incorrect spelling of a lot of words. I know it was on purpose it just really annoyed me. Atitood? Womynhood? Really? It did nothing to add to the storyline, I think it actually took away from it. The lack of description was also lacking. For a 198 page book it took me a long time to get through it.

The premise of the book was good. I just don't think it was as powerful as everyone says it is. I assume this was banned because of the subject matter and not for the amount of detail that went into the "scene".

For a book about this touchy subject, there are better books out there. I realize Speak was one of the first, but since I'm reading it long after there are others published, I would recommend different ones for the subject matter.

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