Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Speak Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Literary Fiction/Young Adult
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: April 20, 2006
Paperback: 240 pages
Where’d I Get It: Purchased

Synopsis (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…

My Thoughts: Until September 18, 2010, I had never heard of the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  On that day, an evil little man posted an opinion piece recommending that it be banned from a Missouri school system.  In response, I bought the book.   Last night, I read it.  I read it cover to cover without putting it down, sometimes reading a passage several times because the poignancy, the feeling, the heart in those words was just too much to give it a mere single pass-over.  This, my friends, is a GOOD book.  Yes, the subject matter is, to some, controversial.  Yes, it’s a tough read for anyone who has a shred of emotion in their bodies.  But it makes you -think- and it tugs the reader into a deeper understanding of the isolation, fear, depression, confusion, and utter despair that this child, these children (for there are victims like Melinda everywhere and more joining her ranks, sadly, daily) feel.  This is a book that I think every High Schooler should read.  This is a book that I think every Adult should read.  Speak is stunning, volatile, refreshing…and I will read it again, and again, and again.

Rating: 10 of 10

My darling friend Bree over at 1girl2manybooks has reviewed Speak, as well.

Speaking up for “Speak”

Author Laurie Halse Anderson wrote about a sensitive subject and her book is now under fire from a man spouting ridiculous nonsense.  Books. Should. Not. Be. Banned.   We have the right to read whatever we choose.  We have the right to allow our children to read whatever we choose.


No one (well, no one normal) likes to think about rape. It isn’t a pleasant subject, it isn’t a pleasant thing to think about. It’s vile, dirty, disgusting, and just plain evil.  But the victims are VICTIMS.  No woman (or man, for that matter) should EVER feel ashamed or afraid to SPEAK up about what has happened to him/her.  Rape happens.  Rape happens far more often than any of us want to believe.  It happens at High School parties, it happens everywhere. Ms. Anderson wrote a book about a girl who finds her voice.  It is my belief that if the book helps even ONE victim Speak Out, then it has served an honorable purpose.

Now, as a disclaimer, I have not yet read Speak.  I did, however, buy a copy not 15 minutes ago and I will begin reading it just as soon as it arrives at my door.  I’ve read the reviews of others, though, and the Wiki on it (beware, contains spoilers), and I really am having a hard time grasping how this insane little man (I’m talking about you, Wesley Scroggins) thinks that this book is -bad-.

“Dr.” Scroggins calls this book “filthy” and “demeaning to education” in his article.  He also says,

In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography.One such book is called “Speak.”

One can only surmise from that statement, that since the only scene containing intercourse in the book is an act of rape, that Dr. Wesley Scroggins believes that rape is “soft pornography”.  Just so I didn’t confuse myself in the writing of this post, I went to my trusty friend Google and searched for a proper definition of “pornography”.  Here’s what I got (from http://www.merriam-webster.com): 

Now call me an idiot, but doesn’t that say that pornography is meant to excite (sexually, no less) and arouse intense emotion?  It also says that pornography is erotic.

So! Dr. Wesley Scroggins thinks that the rape of a teenage girl is erotic and sexually exciting.  It apparently arouses him to an intense emotional state.

Or maybe I’m just interpreting this article wrong? Who knows. Maybe I am. But luckily, I still have the right to SPEAK, just as he does.

My opinion? SPEAK needs to be left alone.  Mr. Scroggins, however, may need to be “banned”.  Oh, and perhaps he should seek therapy?


If you are a victim of rape, DO NOT BE SILENT.  There is no reason to be ashamed.  There is no reason to hide.  There is no reason, at all, to not get the support, the help, the love that you need.  People care.

Helpful Link:
RAINN – Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network – 1.800.656.HOPE

What Others Are Saying (Much more eloquently than me, I might add):
Veronica Roth Books
Myra McEntire
C.J. Redwine
Pam from Bookalicio.us
Mundie Moms