Saturday, August 11, 2007

Speak ~ by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title, author, date of book, and genre?
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, 1999, young adult (YA) fiction

What made you want to read this book?
It's been chosen Chattanooga's A Tale for One City book for 2008, which the whole town is invited to read and discuss during the year. And I'm on the committee to arrange book discussions, reason enough to read it early. The book is also an award winner:
1999 National Book Award Finalist
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Booklist Editors' Choice
Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
Melinda is a friendless outcast at Merryweather High. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether.

From whose point of view is the story told?
Melinda, the main character. She's the one I related to the most, and I felt depressed and discouraged right along with her.

Share a quote from the book.
Nobody, it seemed, would listen to her ... or really hear her cry for help. Here are some examples of how she saw her life:
About her parents: I bet they'd be divorced by now if I hadn't been born. I'm sure I was a huge disappointment. I'm not pretty or smart or athletic. I'm just like them -- an ordinary drone dressed in secrets and lies. I can't believe we have to keep playacting until I graduate. It's a shame we can't just admit that we have failed family living, sell the house, split up the money, and get on with our lives. (p. 70)

About herself: Maybe I'll be an artist if I grow up. (p. 78)

Mr. Freeman, her art teacher: "When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You'd be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside -- walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It's the saddest thing I know." (p. 122)

About her family: I got my "I don't want to know about it" gene from my dad and my "I'll think about it tomorrow" gene from my mom. (p. 148)

About high school: Sometimes I think high school is just one long hazing activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they'll let you become an adult. I hope it's worth it. (p. 191)
Rated: 8/10, a very good book.


CJ said...

Hey, I have this in my TBR pile. I thought it sounded interesting and now I'm even more certain it will be.

Thanks for the review.


Anonymous said...

My son just read this for one of his summer reads for school. He really liked it. I am going to have to get my hot little hands on it.

Jeane said...

I just finished this book recently. It was really, really good. I like how precisely the author portrayed a high school experience.