ISBN #: 978-0312674397
Page Count: 208
Copyright: May 10, 2011 (Reprint Edition)
Publisher: Square Fish
(Taken from back cover)
I included Speak in my 2013 TBR Pile Challenge for two reasons: One, I have heard and read gushing reviews and, two, I've experienced Melinda's situation in my own past. Because of those two reasons, my interest was piqued enough to purchase the book about a year or so ago.
When Speak first starts off, Melinda is a freshman in high school who doesn't speak, scares easily, has no friends, and the reader has no idea why. After some reading, we find out that her behavior is out of the ordinary ... a change her parents notice, but are clueless as to why. This I found difficult to believe. When a child does a complete 180 degree flip, shouldn't that indicate to the parents that their child has experienced something traumatic and doesn't know how to deal with it? How about some compassion, mom? How about forking over some money for therapy sessions, dad? Instead, they pretty much berate her for doing poorly in school and yell at her for not talking.
The high school friendships, or lack thereof, were completely believable. Peers are often cruel and brutally honest in high school and they often judge someone before knowing the whole story. The popular kids feel as if they're invincible and can get away with anything. On these aspects of the book, Ms. Anderson was on point.
I was (finally!) glad to see Melinda come to terms with her fear and get it under control. When people get tired of a situation or being a certain way, they'll find a way to change their circumstances ... and that's exactly what Melinda did. Kudos to her.
Overall, I can see how this book would reverberate within a young teenage girl who's had their own attack by The Beast, but for me ... I didn't really care for it. I know that I am probably shocking some of you, but I didn't. I'm not discounting the literary merits of Speak, because I believe that there are some. I am simply saying that this book was not life-changing for me.