Thursday, April 28, 2011

Speak Review

I recently finished reading Speak by Laura Halse Anderson. I liked this book a lot, but I don’t really understand all the fanfare it got. While it is a good book about an important topic that affects many teens, I’m not sure why it is used in so many schools to teach the topic. PLEASE READ BOTTOM PARAGRAH FOR FURTHER EXPLANATION, SPOILER ALERT

This book is about Miranda, a girl who is raped at a party where most of her peers from high school are partying, complete with beer, drugs, the whole nine yards. She tries to call the cops to report the rape, but can’t speak. Because the line was left open, police track it and come to the party, breaking it up and arresting several people for underage drinking. Back at school, she is now ostracized from all the groups she used to hang out with for calling the cops and ending the party. Miranda doesn’t speak when it isn’t absolutely necessary because of trauma from the rape, and still hasn’t confided in anyone the fact that she was raped, not even the police.

I liked the characters in this book. I was able to relate some of them even to people I know. It was fairly easy to identify with Miranda, because, even though hers was much more severe, everyone has felt left out at one time or another. The characters were fairly well developed and you got to know most of them, even if once you got to know them, you were made to hate them.

I would recommend this book to teens age 13 and up. It does deal with a very mature issue, rape, and there are some disturbing parts that might disturb younger readers. In parts of the book, Miranda contemplates suicide, she cuts her wrists, and other things along those lines happen. While younger readers have heard of these, I would not recommend dwelling on them that young.

This book is very similar to Hate List by Jennifer Brown. They are both about high school girls now outcast due to a crime committed that involved them as main characters.

Overall, Speak by Laura Halse Anderson is a good book.

While eventually Miranda does stop the boy who raped her from doing it again and finds out many people at her school hate him, she still never really tells the cops or even her parents. The only person she actually says that she was raped to was her art teacher, in the very last line of the book. I think if schools are going to use a book to teach people to speak out about rape and other crimes, they should use a book that has the main character tell the authorities promptly, not wait for nearly a year.

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