It is the 10 year anniversary of the publication of “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is a National Book Award Finalist and was awarded the Printz Award for Excellence in 1999. This book deserves the praise and recognition it received. A television movie was aired on Showtime and Lifetime in 2005 and stars Kristen Stewart, of Twilight.
This intense novel deals with the issue of rape. Melinda Sordino is an outcast. The only thing that her ex-friends and others know about that night is the Melinda called the cops. As she climbs into the bus that first day of school, no one talks to her. No one sits with her. Someone throws a Ho-hos wrapper at her head. As the year goes on, Melinda gets tormented, she becomes more of a loner, her grades drops and she ditches school. She loses her voice. She stops caring.
Anderson does an amazing job of portraying Melinda and the tension and torture she feels after her ordeal. It is a year long journey in which Melinda finds her voice, finds her strengthand power.
It is a fitting read given the media attention to Rihanna and Chris Brown, though that is about domestic abuse. It will make you uncomfortable but maybe it will help someone find their voice if this is happening to them.