Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.
Who hasn’t regretted something in life? Haven’t we all? Laurie Halse Anderson perfectly displays regret in her book Speak, which deals with the problems of being unnoticed in life, and never being able to truly express life the way we believe, due to other people troubling our being. Set in the same world we live in, fictionally, the novel tells the account of a girl who has no place in life, and is trying to make life better by hiding from fears after a terrible incident occurs. Basically, I gladly adored the novel; I most liked, however, the theme, plot, and unique use of grammar and vocabulary.
Firstly, I liked the interesting themes shown in the book, which I believe are relatable to many people. What do we regret in life is the main question portrayed in Speak. In the novel, Melinda Sordino faces personal tragedy, and throughout the book, tries to better life by coming out about her feelings. Obviously, this concept is relevant today, as drunken parties are becoming more of an effect on teenage life. This theme is mostly overused, as is proven by media, and overall teenage influence, because this is a strongly opposed subject. Certainly, the concept of the novel is unique in its own right, and by today’s standards, very relatable by way of many people.
The plot was a second part I liked in this novel. The internal conflict was very deep, and one of the most important components in the novel. Melinda often wondered to herself, and really couldn’t speak up for herself much. However, the external conflict acted well with the character portrayed, as such being a quiet and lonely person, who was constantly searching for a place to get away. The book seemed to climax around the end, especially when a scene erupted between a former rival and herself. Uniquely, the book showed me a type a plot I’d never read before, and I think it was a very potent part of the novel.
The third part of the novel that I appreciated was the interesting grammar misuse and vocabulary choice. The choice of words were interesting because they seemed a little low leveled in comparison to many other books recommended for teenagers. There is a lot of usage of conversation in the novel, which made for a distinctive way of connecting to the reader by allowing feeling part of the dialogue while reading. The novel is written almost to the point of feeling like another character thanks to the author’s word choice and syntax.
Overall, I utterly adored the novel, and I feel as if I can read many times over again. I feel the ending was unclear, but stated perfectly to fit the character’s persona. I recommend to teenagers, young adults, or anyone who has felt unwanted in life or school, as it will help many people relate to the situations in the novel. Melinda Sordino was a relatable and acutely understandable main character who decides to find her voice after being used by friends and family. Through the wonderful use of motivating theme, interesting plot, and unique grammar and vocabulary, Laurie Halse Anderson created one of the most powerful books for its time.