Dec 11, 2004

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson

So many people have told me to read this book, and now that I finally have, I realize why. Maybe it is a different reason for everyone, but this book is very strong, very meaningful. When Melinda writes on the bathroom wall, "Boys to stay away from" with Andy Evans name, and then there are dozens and dozens of comments that agree, it just made me think: how many other girls did this one guy harm? And what might have happened if Melinda had been able to speak sooner - the way at the end everyone thanks her, supports her and what she finally was able to do. It also made me think about how so many people around us have these horrible things inside that they keep to themselves because they don't know what to do or how to do it. They just sort of sink inside themselves, and hopefully somewhere find something that they can build from again, start new. For Melinda I think it when she sees her friend in danger and realizes that she has the knowledge and the power to protect her friend Rachel, even if it is possibly the hardest thing. There are so many people we know that have gone into this state - not so silent or bad that people really take notice, maybe a couple meetings with parents, but nothing that really tries to help them. I guess what I'm saying is that it is not shocking, although still sad, that someone can sort of shut down and the world will make its assumptions about that person and move on - maybe try to nudge them back in the right direction, but not really try to help or intervene - all Melinda's parents wanted was school attendance and decent grades, no trouble. Although they cared about her, they didn't delve deep enough to do anything about it. And I think one of the reasons this book is so popular is that that situation is so familiar to so many people.


lovelivres said...

This book attests to how important it is for teens to fit in. I was so disappointed that Rachel didn't reach out to Melinda after Melinda called the police at the party. If Rachel was one of Melinda's best friends, why didn't Rachel try to find out what really caused Melinda to make that phone call? Rachel chose being cool with the older crowd over her best friend. I can see how such a betrayal, in combination with what Andy did to her at the party, could push Melinda into her own world, isolated from everyone. It's ironic that as a teen, one of the most important things in your life is your friends, but as this book shows, your friends are often quick to turn their back on you.

plentyo'moxie said...

That is totally right on - it seems like everything you do, you do in some way because of your friends. I'm not talking just about "peer pressure" here, but your friends influence every aspect of your life. But Rachel really does not demonstrate at all how meaningful and powerful friendship can be - she only demonstrates the lame side, that you really can't be sure how strong your friendships are until something that that tests them. Unfortunately for Melinda, she finds out she really doesn't have great friends.