ILA Period 1
Recently, I finished reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halse Anderson received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2009 for all of her contributions towards young literature. Speak is a 198 page realistic fiction novel. It also became a finalist for the National Book Award in 1999.
I hadn’t heard of Speak until a friend gave it to me after she finished it. She said it was really intense and that I would like it. After reading the blurb on the back of the book, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down.
Melinda Sordino becomes an outcast at school. All of her old friends, even her best, hate her. Over the summer, before her freshman year of high school, there was a huge end-of-summer party. Melinda was the one who called the cops, but no one knows why. No one cared to ask why, they were too busy hating her. The best place for her to be is alone, thinking. Except there is something she’s trying to push out of her memory.
This book took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I always get too attached to characters in books, movies, or tv shows. They start to affect my life in a weird way. With this particular book, I began to feel both the anger and isolation that Melinda was feeling. Although I have never experienced what Melinda did, I was still able to feel what she was, which makes this book really amazing to read.
On of the most important parts of the book is where Andy starts flirting with Melinda at the end-of-summer party. Melinda had had a few more than a couple beers and was extremely out of it.
“We were on the ground. When did that happen? ‘No.’ No I do not like this. I was on the ground and he was on top of me. My lips mumble something about leaving, about a friend who needs me, about my parents worrying. I can hear myself-I’m mumbling like a deranged drunk. His lips lock on mine and I can’t say anything. I twist my head away. He is so heavy. There is a boulder on me. I open my mouth to breathe, to scream, and his hand covers it. In my head, my voice is as clear as a bell: ‘NO I DON’T WANT TO!’ But I can’t spit it out. I’m trying to remember how we got on the ground and hwere the moon went and wham! Shirt up, shorts down, and the ground smells wet and dark and NO! – I’m not really here, I’m definatley back at Rachel’s, crimping my hair and gluing on fake nails, and he smells like beer and mean and he hurts me hurts me and gets up
and zips his jeans
and smiles.” (page 135-136)
In the book, at the party, Melinda, a freshman, was raped by Andy, a senior. He took total advantage of her. The only thing I would change about this scene, if I were the author, is that I would try to make it more intense and add in a few more details, that way the reader could feel more of Melinda’s pain and emotion. The words the author used for this are perfect. I especially like how at the end, he adds “and he hurts me hurts me and gets up”. It shows how simple and horrid it was, which adds tremendously to the scene.
Out of ten, I would give Speak an eight or and eight and a half. It was extremely well written and I liked how the author wrote it in the way that Melinda would talk (or how I guess she would talk). However, it only gets an eight because there are a few parts that I would change.