Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson fulfilled the
category “Book with at
least a 4-Star Rating on Goodreads” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. As
of this post, Speak has a rating of 4.02 based on almost 500,000 ratings
and a well-deserved score. I couldn’t have chosen a better book for the
category. It blew me away, and I have no idea why it’s not a perfect 5 on
I had heard about the novel from several sources. I
mostly read romance, horror, cozy mystery. Young Adult is great too, but I stick
to fantasy inside the genre. When one of my two teenage daughters was having
issues with depression, a teacher recommended Speak as a read for my
girl. Unfortunately, neither girl read it, nor did I until this prompt. Now I
wished I had pushed it on both kids. Every child in middle school should read
the story, experience the pain and isolation, and see depression and PTSD are real
problems with today’s
youth. The same goes for reading The Hunger Games, but that’s another
Speak is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl
who is raped by a classmate at a party. And she shuts down. The novel is told
in the first-person point of view and really gets into the meat of the feelings
the teen experiences and her PTSD. The tale goes way-down deep. I cried so much.
We feel for this girl so deeply, we almost become her. Huge kudos to Ms. Anderson
for her adeptness in portraying the anguish, fear, and loneliness that comes
with dealing with such an enormous issue all on her own.
I listened to the book on audio and for me, I think
it made the story hit a deeper note. Hearing the reader speak with the girl’s voice, when she had none
of her own, was a moving experience. Reading text might have also invoked a
deep connection as well since the words would’ve been in my head. But hearing
it aloud made me confront some issues from my own life, and my children. My
girls and I had several long talks as I read the book. I also bought the
graphic novel version for my youngest. She has trouble visualizing and it makes
reading difficult. I wanted her to experience the tale and a graphic version
made that possible.
The story will stay with me for a long time. I plan
to read the sequel but can totally see myself rereading Speak once a
year until my girls are older. And I hardly ever reread books.
I know this post is short for such a poignant, relevant
novel. All I can say is go read it, make your children read it, and then talk
about the book.
I give Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Five Stashes of
Art Supplies (and a thousand stars more).