Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

           Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From Amazon.com

“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

                              Imagine it is your very first day for your very first year of high school and everyone hates you. Well in the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Melinda doesn’t have to. This book is about a girl who is getting bullied by people who don’t know why she really did what she did. I really didn’t enjoy reading this book. I really didn’t like the theme, plot, or the characters.

I really didn’t like the theme not because I couldn’t understand it, but because it made me feel like I did last year. It is about a girl who gets rapped and bullied. I can’t stand for anyone to bully someone. I got bullied a lot last year and this book just made me feel like I was getting bullied again. I don’t understand why people bully in this book

Speak Melinda was having it really hard. They were all destroying her with their words and actions toward her. Over summer she was one of their friends, and in one night that all changed. One little phone call ruined her life. She was scared and didn’t know what else to do someone hurt her, but her friends didn’t know that all they knew was she called the cops. When she couldn’t talk to anyone really she could through her art. I did like that part of the story, but that would probably be it. I really didn’t even care much for the characters. Her best friends dropped her when she made that call. So it really took about one minute. They acted like she was nothing after that like she was a bug you squish on the side walk, which is the same thing that my friends did to me, the only difference is they really had no reason to I didn’t do anything. So I felt some similarities between them and my old friends. While I was reading this book I felt really sad. I mean it all made me feel the same way I did last year if I could have chose to read anything else I would have. I do not dwell on the past I know it didn’t mean anything I have two or three true friends now, but I don’t care much to hang out with that many people I spend most of my time with my boyfriend, but Melinda didn’t have anyone unlike me. She had to go through all of that alone and I would’ve hated that if I didn’t have anyone. If you have ever been bullied really bad like me and Melinda, I would not recommend this book for you.


4 responses

  1. Ali, first of all, I am so sorry to hear about your experiences last year. Bullying is a big issue that needs to be stopped. You are very right to feel the things you felt while reading this book. Thank you for your honesty, it really adds to the piece! I know how hard it is to read books that have such a personal connection with things you have gone through. I applaud you for finishing the book all the way through!

    – Your opening paragraph is solid, good work. It definitely hooked me in.

    – Is the theme of this book all about bullying or is there maybe a silver-lining in the end? I’m just curious, you could be totally right on this. ( I have never read the book)

    – I know that the events in this book really affected you, but remember that your review shouldn’t be a summary. Your final paragraph is mostly summary, so try splitting that up and creating your paragraphs on the plot and characters. Try picking out the main parts of the plot to include.

    – To add your personal connection, I would include a quote from the main character about how she felt about being bullied and then add how you felt similar. I believe that will be very powerful!

    – I know this was a hard read for you, but do you think others should read it so that they know what it’s like for someone to be bullied? Is this a good book to persuade people against bullying? Maybe you could include that in your conclusion and referral paragraph.

    I look forward to reading your next copy! Remember to keep your head up and push through this assignment. I am so very glad that you have friends to support you now! You deserve to be cared about, don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.

    1. Thank you for this advice. I will try to make my ending paragraph better the next time I do one. I will tell the readers if it is a good read or a bad read and I will tell them why I think so. For this book it could be a good read if you have never been bullied, and even if you have been bullied if you were not bullied very bad then it would still be a good book to read. The other did do a very good job on making it feel like a girl getting bullied. She did amazing writing in the book if you would like to read it.

      I think that I could use any help or advice you could give me on how to do a better job when I write about the theme of the books. I have loved almost every sing theme of the books I have read so far, but I just can’t seem to but them down on a sheet of paper or in my blogs. I really don’t what to just not write about them but I feel if I can’t get it right I need to stop writing about the theme it is bringing my grade down on my book reviews.

      I can tell from your comments Kristen that I can start my reviews off very well but can not finish them as good as how I start them. I would love for some advice on how to make my ending paragraph as good as my beginning one. any other advice you have for me would be great!!!!

      Thank you, Ali

      1. Ali,
        I’m glad you found my advice helpful. Here are a few pointers on what you asked about:

        -As for your concluding paragraph, reinstating your topic sentence in other words is always a good way to start the final paragraph. Remember to give one last explanation as to why you did or didn’t enjoy the book and to explain if you think someone else may enjoy it. For instance, would I boy who’s into sports like it better than you did or maybe a girl who is your age also be interested in it? Finally, leave your audience with an opinion about the book and the main reason you felt this way about it.

        -For your theme paragraph, I think that you know what the theme’s are of books and that you normally start out solid. As for this one, since it was so personal to you I believe you kind of went on a tangent about it. (This is easy to do when you read something that you have such a connection to, I’ve done the same many times!) Personally, before starting your theme paragraph, I would already pick out a quote from the book that emphasizes the theme you are going to focus on. It doesn’t necessarily have to start your paragraph, but use it somewhere in there. That way, you have a basis to “write around” on the theme. Talk about the different aspects of the book that included and helped to create the theme as well as who this theme could relate to and why (especially if that person is you!)

        I hope this helps and remember to just keep trying (writing is a PROCESS),

      2. Kristen,
        Thank you for the advice on making my theme paragraph happen! I really needed the advice, it was not working out for me. I keep losing points on my writen review because of it, an that is a simple mistake that I think I will be able to fix very easy! We habven’t really talked about gow to write a paragraph that is about the theme but i mean people most likely know how to do that. I have no clue why i am strugling so much with it… An i will use what you have told me to make my theme statement better!

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