Speak – By Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak is a young adults novel about a freshman called Melinda Sordino who once had friends but that changed after she was invited to a party with all her friends and was raped and after that she called the police frozen for words she didn’t speak but the police tracked the location and went to the party everyone knew she called the police some people got arrested and lives where ruined because of it her friends along with the whole school turned on her, she never told anyone about the rape the reasoning for why she called the cops not her friends nor parents she has that secret burdening on her, starting school is not good.
She has no one but she find an empty janitor’s closet where she spends a lot of her time alone its her place where she feels safe. Her ex best friend is now dating her rapist she wants to talk to her and tell her what happened at that party Melinda takes art as a subject this become a thing she gets very invested in the art teacher gives the task of a tree and to make art with trees when over the time developes a friendly relationship with the teacher spending lunch times talking to him and doing art.
She decides to talk to her Ex best friend and confront her about what happened at that party she comes clean but her ex bestie does not believe her and runs away because she through she was making it up to get to her and her “boyfriend” the ex best friend then confronts her boyfriend and asks how he knows Melinda and he gets bad swears at her and walks away she now knows its true and soon enough the whole school is talking about it.
Melinda hides away in her secret space in the school janitors colset when someone grabs her from behind screaming at her “the whole school knows you *****” and started attacking her she struggles to fight back and ends up grabbing the thing closest to her which was some type of acidic substance and splashes it in the intruders face blinding them as she trys to get away the door is swung open and her old friends scream at the intruder who is infact her rapist to get off her “we know what you did” the shouted at him as Melinda runs away. It then skips to Melinda driving in the car with her mum as she explains the night at the party and ends there.
I think this book would “speak” to many people its a topic people would not usually write and or confront. It is a topic people sometimes don’t really want to talk about because it either upsets them or makes someone feel uncomfortable, in some sense i understand why Melinda didn’t say anything when she called the police that night, i think if something as horrible as that happened to me i would be speechless. Rape is something that does still happen to this day i couldn’t imagine the pain it caused her i can although think if you where used against your will and forced upon something you didn’t want to do i would feel disgusting, violated more than anything i feel like an incident like this could leave a person in a pit of depression and post traumatic stress or worse I’ve heard of cases of young females being raped on the news so often its such a big issue in the world now and i don’t know what anyone is trying to do to stop it? i have a very strong opinion towards paedophiles and rapists i personally believe anyone caught of doing such tendencies should be sentenced to deaths row, i think someone with a mind sick enough to think its ok to rape someone and proceed with it should not end up in a positive way.
A lot of people hide their “personal stories” of how they where sexually assaulted and raped just as Melinda did for some time i think people who are assaulted like this hide the fact either because they are scared of the person who did it and if they where alone with that person again and what they would do if they found out that person went to the police, or don’t want to tell anyone because they feel like no one will believe them as Melinda thought or maybe she was scared the book never really described why she never told anyone not even her parents, i feel like if something that this ever happened to me i would tell someone personally i would tell my parents first but then again i don’t know how i would react i just know i never want to go through what Melinda did.
As for her parents i cant but help believe this was a major shock to them they knew Melinda was acting up at school they now know why but i feel for the parents because its not just what Melinda went through but the parents once they find out to i personally think they may feel like bad parents for not being there to help her or like they are just bad parents for possibly making her feel like she couldn’t tell them i know if i was a parent and this happened to my child i would probably want the person who did it to my child sentenced to death, i think i would also feel guilty and like i was a bad parents for not protecting my child more and allowing it to happen when if i didn’t know. i loved how caring her mother was with the whole situation she took Melinda’s feelings into consideration and said “you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to” i think her mother was understanding towards her that makes me happy her mother was so considering.
As for the best friends i don’t understand why they turned against Melinda for calling the police i think if your really your friend you would forgive them but they didn’t maybe because everyone else at the school hated her for it and they didn’t want to be hated on either for being her friend, its sad because i knew people and this happened to them i wanted to personally ask them if they where ok it was not specifically the same situation but i felt like if i was to say something maybe i could make them feel better but i choose to say nothing cause i didn’t want to get the hate that person got who would want that? it must be horrible it was selfish of me but i learnt from my mistake and just asked them hey are you ok? and from then on i was there friend things got better for that person they didn’t feel alone anymore and maybe thats something Melinda needed someone to make her not feel so alone and isolated i personally think the friends should have been more forgive but sometimes thats just not how the cards are dealt. they said “i hate you” i don’t understand what kind of friend would say that to someone unless they hade a very good reason for it i still don’t think thats ok either way.
I think Melinda was very brave to tell her parents it must have taken a lot of strength i have a lot of respect for her character, i think the author made this story maybe it was because she portrayed herself as Melinda and this happened to her and wanted to tell her story through a different identity i know if i would do the same thing i wouldn’t want people to think of me as the girl who got raped so using another identity to tell a story is a great idea i can see pain was expressed through out the story for example when Melinda said “i wonder how long it will take before someone notices I’ve stopped talking” this was maybe said because she felt alone and no one would notice or care it was a test in her mind to see if people actually cared. She felt alone and she showed that through her art work with the trees i believe this was her way of catharsis the painting and drawings had deeper meaning to her than just a tree she portrayed herself as that tree she always drew them as a singular tree i think personally the tree was her. I also think the author maybe used the book as her own catharsis letting weight off her shoulders of expressing her truth. or maybe it was for someone else she personally knew and she wrote if for them to tell there story and make it heard so no one else has to feel like there alone in this, other people have gone through it to so people should feel alone in the battle there’s always help and because of Melinda’s story i think they should be educating youth in schools more about assault, help, how to avoid it, how to cope or ask for help and how to help someone else i think it may just save someone from this horrible crime or maybe save someone life. i think maybe if Melinda was taught and educated about things like this she could have spoken up sooner and got help.