Speak, a moving must-read

Alexis Soukup, Staff Writer

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High school was the big treacherous nightmare for Melinda. Over the summer before Melinda’s freshman year she attends a party, to appease her friend’s desire to move up the social ladder. But Melinda turns out to be that girl who rats the party out and calls the cops. Going into high school with that on her shoulders caused her to be made fun of day in day out.

 

Written from her point of view in journal entries is the story of a damaged teenager. It’s a common story that affects thousands of girls across the country every year. Melinda was raped while at this party and too scared to tell, but brave enough to call the police. She suffers harassment not just from peers but from “IT” the senior boy who hurt her.

 

“Speak” seems to be the typical teenage girl novel of angst, but the novel isn’t just that. It’s an inside understanding of teenage rape and its effect. 30 percent of all women raped are 11-17, and that 30 percent was the result of only 32 percent of those girls reporting the rape, reported US News.

 

Melinda turned out to not be the only girl affected by rape at her school. Many other girls came out when Melinda did. This novel is great for both sexes to be educated on the respect and equality both deserve. Laurie Halse Anderson does an incredible job delivering the message with a suspenseful and thrilling novel that isn’t fictional for many teenage girls.

 

In 2004 the novel was adapted to screen, with Kristen Stewart as Melinda. I haven’t had the chance to see the movie but I’m sure it captures the meaning just as well as the novel.
Anderson’s purpose with the novel was to get others to speak up with, “Many of them coming away from the book with a new understanding of sexual assault and depression. They dug deep and found the courage to speak up about their own pain. They reached out and asked for help. They spoke up,” said Anderson. She completed her goal thanks to her intelligent and gripping ability to tell her tales.

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