Jessica Day's Reviews > Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Oct 04, 11

Read in October, 2011

sure plenty of people can argue with me on whether Speak is a classic or not. Some people, who ban books, will argue that it cannot be a classic because of it's "appaling content" and language. Others will simply say that because this book was only published in 1999, 12 years ago, it's not old or timeless enough to be a classic. Well let me give you the definition of classic that I plucked out of my pocket dictionary.


Clas'sic n. a book, work of art, etc. of highest excellence

Well there you go, no reference to the suggest age of a classic, Speak is definitely excellent and therefore, a classic.
Freshmen in the non-honors English class in my high school read Speak. As an honors English kid myself, I never got the opportunity to read it in a classroom. Finally, last week I decided to pick up a copy and start it. Obviously, I enjoyed it. It's a fast read, full of symbolism and lessons. However I am an honors student, I love to read, so I began to wonder what the non-honors classes thought of it. When I approached the students I got similar responses, "That one was okay...", "It gets better towards the end...", "That Melinda girl has problems...", however the most jarring thing someone said to me happened to occur in my own chemistry classroom. Some boy, now a junior although he had read the book as a freshman, saw that I was reading it and said, "That was a really good book. It was depressing, but a good story." Not only was this coming from a boy, but a jock, a football player. In my school, popular kids don't admit that they read and jocks tend to always be in the "needs improvement" category. I think that in itself proved to me just how universal Speak is.
Speak touched me. It holds not only a great story, but an emotional masterpiece. You don't have to like Melinda to get the message, I didn't like her. However I did like the creative language and the metaphors thrown in. Speak should continue to be read in schools/libraries/at home by the young/middle-aged/old, until the lesson is clear and Melinda's voice is heard.
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