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.