Mark's Reviews > Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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's review
Apr 20, 2008

bookshelves: speak
Read in April, 2008

** spoiler alert ** Reference information:
Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Year: April 2006
# of pages: 197 Genre: YA LIT Fiction
Reading level: Interest level: Ages 12-up
Potential hot lava: Very mature issues, dealing with rape and sexual harassment.

General response/reaction:
First starting out reading this book, I was not sure what to think because I had heard it was also a Lifetime movie, and when I heard that I definitely did not want to read it because it could only be about something of that genre of trashy Lifetime movies. But it had an underlying message even for guys in the text about sexual harassment and the way some guys treat girls and how not to treat them. This was a very powerful book.

Subjects, Themes, and Big Ideas:
- Sexual Harassment
- Rape
- Friendships
- Family
- High School
- Secrets
- Alienation
Melinda- main character of book, is raped at the beginning at a party, barely talks anymore

Plot summary:
Melinda went to a ‘summer’s end’ party and got raped by a senior. After that night, she has never told anyone. She is not the same girl she once was. Melinda’s parents have started to notice a change in her behavior. She does not pay attention or cares of to what she wears, how she looks or that she constantly bites her finger nails until they bleed. But what she has endured is reason enough to be the way she is. She barely talks to any of her friends or classmates anymore. She called the cops that night to report what had happened but she didn’t stick around, she left and so everyone thought that she called to get the party busted. In the end, the guy that raped her goes to jail for her rape and people still do not believe that because of his status that he could have done something like this. Melinda finally got her revenge for what was taken away from her that night.

Strengths (including reviews and awards):
- 1999 National Book Award Finalist
- School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
- Booklist Editor’s Choice
This book has issues that adolescents will hopefully never have to face but it talks about what to do if you are ever in the same situation.
Drawbacks or other cautions:
The only thing that is a drawback of this book is that it deals with rape and the secrets that the main character keeps to her self after it happens. This book is for mature adolescents and has adult themes.
Teaching ideas:
Before Reading
- Predictions of what students will think will happen in this story
- Show a movie clip from the movie
During Reading
- Have students develop a theme web
- Discussions after each chapter
- Quiz to make sure students are reading
- Role play the characters
- Journal Entries
After Reading
- Making a movie trailer of what students think are the important parts of this book but different from the original movie
- Essay questions (i.e. writing a different ending)
- Give students info on related issues
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