I have mixed feelings about Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I find the writing mediocre at best and the characters one dimensional. After reading theI have mixed feelings about Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I find the writing mediocre at best and the characters one dimensional. After reading the book, I felt like I didn’t really know much about the main character. I understood her moods, her depression, fear, isolation, and pain; but not much else. I think this is actually okay, because I know depression can consume you. It can become your identity; it can make you retreat from the world and become apathetic.
The problem is all of the characters in the book are one dimensional: the workaholic mom, the eccentric art teacher facing budget cuts, the dad who is inept in the kitchen, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the Marthas—you get the point. The story could have been so much better if the characters weren’t cardboard cutouts. If a book can delve into such a deep subject matter, then it should be able to deal with more complex characters. I personally didn’t care too much for the book. I found the plot predictable, the execution flawed, and the characters lacking.
That being said, Speak does deliver a very important message and raises awareness about rape to a young audience. Kudos to Anderson for approaching this difficult subject and providing an outlet for teenagers to explore and discuss this issue. If this book helps people find their voice and regain hope, as many reviewers have stated, then this book succeeds. That’s one of the best outcomes an author could wish for--the ability to touch people’s lives. ...more
This book was original and the psychological insight into the characters was realistic and refreshing—no doubt her background in psychology contributeThis book was original and the psychological insight into the characters was realistic and refreshing—no doubt her background in psychology contributes to this. However, the story itself was grim, depressing, and weird.
Now don't get me wrong, I love stories and events that go beyond the norm and violate expectations. Life would be a very boring place indeed without uniqueness and imagination, and I wouldn't be a fan of Murakami if I couldn't handle the fantastical and bizarre. Stupid Children, however, seems to be written to emphasize the weird for the sake of being weird; I gather this from reading the book, but also by participating in the author-reader discussion on The Next Best Book club.
The book was extremely depressing; it dealt with suicide, lunacy, sexual abuse, drug addiction, physical abuse, cults, death, self harm, need I continue . . . After reading it I'm not sure what the author was trying to convey, besides the fact that people can be brainwashed into a cult mentality, especially if exposed at a young age. The ending was too abrupt for my liking.
I do give credit to her creativity and style, but I think she got carried away in trying to emphasize the weirdness and horror without any clear direction or meaning. ...more
Waclawiak has a very visceral literary style, that feels refreshing and real. She describes very intimate details of sex and life vividly and unflatteWaclawiak has a very visceral literary style, that feels refreshing and real. She describes very intimate details of sex and life vividly and unflatteringly. After reading How to Get Into the Twin Palms, I felt I had taken a journey in Anya’s body. I could feel her raw, burnt hands, her cut vagina lip, and her losing battle with her newly grown in roots, exposing her artificial hair color. However, as familiar as I was with Anya’s body I never reached the same closeness with Anja’s mind and her motivations seemed lacking. I understand her desire to belong, her isolation of being in between two worlds, not really a part of either. Anja believes that the glamorous and selective world of the Twin Palms will bring her happiness and allow her to lead a totally new interesting life, a life away from being unemployed, unloved, and unnoticed.
Anja is one of the most passive narrators I have ever read. She waits and waits for a man to come into her life, to solve all her problems and create excitement. Once, she finds a man she continues to wait for him, never knowing when he’ll show up on her door step and what he’ll want when he gets there. She does not think about her actions or the consequences of those actions, which makes her a very unsympathetic character. We do not know enough of her background to fully understand the way she behaves. Honestly, I felt more for the old lady, Mary, then I ever felt for Anya. I could feel her grief, loneliness, and isolation in a way that touched me, whereas Anya’s unhappiness seemed to result from herself and the choices she made.
I think the author has promise, but this book could have been better. ...more