Image result for speak book

Title: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

First Edition: 1999

Pages: 197

Genre: Fiction

Movies based on the novel : Speak (2004)

Some critics say this is a novel that should be hidden from students. Some people say this novel should be banned from all the library shelves and from all classrooms. Some parents say that the book is “soft-pornography [and it] glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex.”

Some students wrote to Laurie Halse Anderson saying,

 “this book cracked my shell

It keeps hurting I hurt, but

But your book cracked my shell.”

When a novel written for young adolescents  is banned by adults, but it is loved by teenagers, it should be read in each and every school!

As Laurie Hanse Anderson said, ” Teenagers need [adults] to be brave enough to give them great books so they can learn how to grow up into the men and women we want them to be.”

Speak narrates Melinda’s depression, isolation, and demons in a compassionate, intelligent, respectful, and kind way.

Melinda is raped by a high school senior during a summer party. She is 13 years old at the time of the rape. She keeps the episode to herself as she tries to survive her freshman year.

YES, the novel deals with a difficult topic (rape).

YES, parents and teachers are often not prepared to deal with such a difficult topic that requires thoughtful discussion.

BUT, when something happens to our teenagers, do we want to close their mouths with tape and paint a fake smile over the tape.? Do we want to let them walk home in an empty house? Do we want to let them deal with the pain, guilt, fears, and insecurities by themselves?

Hiding things that we don’t want to see, does not make those things go away.

Speak is more than a novel about rape.

From a family that communicates via post it notes, to a school that does not see a girl sleeping in the janitor closet, Speak touches so many aspects of our society and its flaws. A society in which teenagers, parents, and teachers are separate entities, living on the verge of depression, lies, and denial.

Speak is not a novel that should be banned because, beside rape, it touches so many other important issues such as diversity, immigration, gender issues, the flaws of the American school system, the changing American family, and adolescence. These issues are presented to readers from Melinda’s point of view, which is cynical yet funny; ironic yet sad.

The novel opens our eyes to what a teenager feels, sees, and dreams.

If you have teenagers read the book with them. If you teach teenagers read the book with them. If you don’t know anything about teenagers read the book. If you don’t understand teenagers read the book. If you had issues with your family as a teenager read the book.

It is a novel that will silently crawl under your security blanket to stain it with insecurities and new convictions.

It is a novel that will peel away the glossy paint of lies from the fairy tale wall built by our society.

The world is not a fairy tale.

Rape is real.

Suicide is real.

Depression is real.

Banning a good novel from society does not make our society better.

When we hide a good book under the sand, we only create big, dark holes—holes that eventually will weaken the ground around our make-believe fairy tale castle of lies.


SPEAK the truth and be real, ALWAYS.



Ink n Paper.

P.S.: If you are a teacher in search of cool ideas, check   teaching ideas and classroom activities related to this book!



    1. Thank you for such a great compliment! You made my day! I really loved this novel because its words and events take you into the world and mind of a teenager. And we all know that teenagers criticize everything in a witty and hilarious way even if they are dying inside. They see the world as it is without filters. The description of the Thanksgiving dinner, for example, takes you into a desperate yet truly comical attempt to cook and eat a frozen gigantic turkey left in the sink by a mom who is too busy too cook. I hope you will read this novel! It is worth the time and the $$$.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You and I must be hooked up on some wavelength somewhere. I just read through your classroom suggestions and did a double-take on the “cubist” tree. I happened to do exactly that this morning during my drawing practice. Weird, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t figure out how to get it in comments, so I did a quick password protected blog post. Use the password tree (all lower case) and you should be able to see it, along with Art Man, my art mannequin.


      2. Got it!
        Lol…we are so similar….I have an art mannequin…its name is The Dude. 🙂
        I think I will add a static page for my art…maybe…not sure yet since the blog is about books….. but I am so eager to get back to my drawings/paintings and you are inspiring me so much!
        The sketch is intriguing…I will keep working on it and on the mannequin…I see a great painting in the making!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Glad you got to see it. It was so weird that I drew that yesterday morning and then read the suggestion on your blog later that day. I’m practicing pen-and-ink getting ready for Inktober, so I was playing around with lots of doodles. The grandkids named my mannequin Art Man. I didn’t realize they even know what it was. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this book! I’ll never understand all the moral grandstanding that happens with YA books about serious and important subjects like this. I’m sure this book has probably been banned in many schools and libraries, which is sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you! It is a wonderful novel and not at all a treatening novel. Nowadays, so many great books are banned from schools . Often I wonder if people who ask to ban a book read the book or only random comments here and there….

      Liked by 1 person

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