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annajmaxy

weave my words into worlds

Please don't count how many old "reviews" of mine say "review later", "more later", or variations thereupon. ... Actually, just ignore my blog until further notice.

Currently reading

Lirael
Garth Nix
The Silmarillion
J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien
Les Misérables
Victor Hugo, James Madden, Julie Rose, Adam Gopnik

Speak

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson I'm tired at the moment, so please forgive anything that doesn't make sense. I'll come back and edit later.

I read this book in about a fifteen hour time period. Eight of those hours were spent sleeping, and around four of them were spent preparing for a road trip. To state the obvious, this book was a quick read.

I was a little worried about starting this book, to be completely honest. I read Wintergirls before this, and I wasn't a huge fan, so I had to wonder if Speak was going to be any better. I was fairly pleased with what I discovered. I know that the two books are compared so constantly, but let me just say the reasons why Speak got a better rating than Wintergirls:

1. Melinda was much rounder (in terms of characterization) than Lia, not to mention more likable. Lia was so detatched and she never seemed to care about the people surrounding her, but Melinda... Yeah, you get the point.

2. The plot had a bit more substance. Although both novels had their shares of clichés, as almost every novel does, the clichés were more realistic in Speak and they had a more positive effect on the storyline. There was more conflict in Speak, so the story moved in a more readable way.

3. The writing style was actually enjoyable, for the most part. This book's metaphors were more simple and not so high in number. Metaphors are great things, but when they're used too often, I get tired of them fairly quickly. Speak felt more real to me. Anderson spent less time--not no time, just less time--trying to come up with creative ways of formatting and told the story. I felt like Melinda was telling me her secrets for a reason, whereas with Lia, it seemed like she was just whining. I'm not saying the writing was flawless; I'm saying it was better than Wintergirls.

I wouldn't say Speak dramatically changed my life, but it did alter the way I think. I have a new perspective on high school and I feel much more ready for my sophomore year.

Now for a couple of things that irritated me while I read:

1. Despite my earlier comment that the writing style was better, Speak had its share of issues. Anderson is obviously a fan of using fragment sentences on a regular basis, which happens to be one of my pet peeves. Many sentences were phrased so awkwardly that I had to read them six or seven times, and I still couldn't figure out why they were there or what they meant. I respect that Anderson doesn't conform to every single writing rule, because I don't think many people do, but...

2. I would have loved a stronger ending. It just went from this dramatic moment to a calm scene in the art room... which would have been fine, except that the "dramatic moment" felt cut off too abruptly and there was no true conclusion to it. I wish more loose ends had been tied, I suppose.

That being said, I still enjoyed Speak. I think a lot of high school students can relate to it, and it might be healthy for adults to read so they can enter the mind of a teenager in need of help.

**EDIT**

After going through a few months of sophomore year, I've had a change of heart about this book. My high school experience hasn't been similar to Melinda's in terms of her specific situation, but I can truly sympathize with how she feels. As a result, I'm giving Speak another star.