Colleen's Reviews > Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Mar 19, 2010

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bookshelves: classics-i-should-read

This book has been mentioned as a modern alternative to "Catcher in the Rye," which is why I read it. Though well-written for its audience (young adults/teens), it is not a definitive coming-of-age story. In the course of a school year, a high school freshman student wryly, humorously shares with us her observations of numbskull teachers, distracted parents and friends the depth of cardboard. Melinda experiences a trauma, holds it in, suffers social rejection because of it, sees a friend on the verge of the same trauma, helps friend and in the course of that, in the climax, the denouement, is thrown into the same traumatic situation, only this time she finds her power, finds her voice (so to "speak") and therefore is able to triumph over the original trauma...Such a run-on sentence, I know, but the plot is so predictable it seems best described in one breathless sentence. This book does not depict the depth of self-discovery found in A Separate Peace or Anywhere But Here (by Mona Simpson). It's an entertaining over-generalization of high school angst and high school cliques--just not a classic.
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