Book Preview: Speak

speakI saw the film version (2004) of Speak (1999), by Laurie Halse Anderson, sometime in the last year or so. The film had an authentic feel and a somber mood. The story is about the rape of a young girl during the summer before she begins high school, and of her subsequent withdrawal and silence.

Melinda Sordino is ostracized by her friends and classmates for calling the police during a summer party after she is attacked by an older student. The cops arrive and break the party up, and the stunned girl pulls away into herself, unable to cope with what has happened. By the time school starts, she has still told no one, and withdrawn further into herself. Her art teacher is one of the few people who is able to get through to her, and encourages the troubled high school freshman to express herself through her artwork.

The story climaxes when the upperclassman who raped her attacks again. This time Melinda is strong enough, and sober enough, to fight back. A shocking and thought-provoking look at the battles of adolescence, from the trenches.


About Joan Marie Naszady

I am a learner, a teacher, and a naturalist who enjoys being creative!
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