Speak

Laurie Halse Anderson

Awards and shortlistings to date:

  • A 2000 Printz Honor Book
  • A 1999 National Book Award Finalist
  • An Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist
  • Winner of the Golden Kite Award
  • An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults
  • An ALA Quick Pick
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
  • A Booklist Top Ten First Book of 1999
  • A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
  • An SLJ Best Book of the Year
  • A Horn Book Fanfare Title

"The First Ten Lies They Tell You In High School:

  1. We are here to help you
  2. You will have enough time to get to your class before the bell rings
  3. The dress code will be enforced
  4. No smoking is allowed on school grounds
  5. Our football team will win the championship this year
  6. We expect more of you here
  7. Guidance counsellors are always available to listen
  8. Your schedule was created with your needs in mind
  9. Your locked combination is private
  10. These will be the years you look back on fondly
  11. "

Poignant, harshly truthful, unforgettable - this story of a year in the life of Melinda Sordino. Written in a satirical and darkly ironic style, Melinda places her life as a high school outcast on paper, an outcast ever since she broke up the end-of-summer party she and her friends attended. Melinda had a good reason to, but she has told nobody, neither her parents nor her old friends.

"We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders. I am clanless."

Speak is the tale of a girl finding the courage to speak out about who she is, and bring "IT" (also known as "The Beast" by Melinda, referring to her rapist, Andy Evans) to justice.

Ever since the fateful party and her awful encounter with IT, Melinda has not spoken very much to anyone, and goes for long periods of time without anyone noticing that she is not speaking. Throughout the year accounted here, Melinda struggles to move on with life, but her grades drop, and she begins to cut classes. By the end of the book, Melinda has changed. Her self confidence is returning, and she has been on a year long path of self-discovery and healing. She is now ready to speak.

"Water drips onto the paper and the birds bloom in the light, their feathers expanding in promise. IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow."

This witty, beautiful and emotional book is an amazing début, and I consider it a must-read for practically anyone aged about fourteen and up.

Speak (?), v. i. [imp. Spoke (?) (Spake () Archaic); p. p. Spoken (?) (Spoke, Obs. ∨ Colloq.); p. pr. & vb. n. Speaking.] [OE. speken, AS. specan, sprecan; akin to OF.ries. spreka, D. spreken, OS. spreken, G. sprechen, OHG. sprehhan, and perhaps to Skr. sph&umac;rj to crackle, to thunder. Cf. Spark of fire, Speech.]

1.

To utter words or articulate sounds, as human beings; to express thoughts by words; as, the organs may be so obstructed that a man may not be able to speak.

Till at the last spake in this manner. Chaucer.

Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. 1 Sam. iii. 9.

2.

To express opinions; to say; to talk; to converse.

That fluid substance in a few minutes begins to set, as the tradesmen speak. Boyle.

An honest man, is able to speak for himself, when a knave is not. Shak.

During the century and a half which followed the Conquest, there is, to speak strictly, no English history. Macaulay.

3.

To utter a speech, discourse, or harangue; to adress a public assembly formally.

Many of the nobility made themselves popular by speaking in Parliament against those things which were most grateful to his majesty. Clarendon.

4.

To discourse; to make mention; to tell.

Lycan speaks of a part of Caesar's army that came to him from the Leman Lake. Addison.

5.

To give sound; to sound.

Make all our trumpets speak. Shak.

6.

To convey sentiments, ideas, or intelligence as if by utterance; as, features that speak of self-will.

Thine eye begins to speak. Shak.

To speak of, to take account of, to make mention of. Robynson (More's Utopia). -- To speak out, to speak loudly and distinctly; also, to speak unreservedly. -- To speak well for, to commend; to be favorable to. -- To speak with, to converse with. "Would you speak with me?" Shak.

Syn. -- To say; tell; talk; converse; discourse; articulate; pronounce; utter.

 

© Webster 1913.


Speak (?), v. t.

1.

To utter with the mouth; to pronounce; to utter articulately, as human beings.

They sat down with him upn ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him. Job. ii. 13.

2.

To utter in a word or words; to say; to tell; to declare orally; as, to speak the truth; to speak sense.

3.

To declare; to proclaim; to publish; to make known; to exhibit; to express in any way.

It is my father;s muste To speak your deeds. Shak.

Speaking a still good morrow with her eyes. Tennyson.

And for the heaven's wide circuit, let it speak The maker's high magnificence. Milton.

Report speaks you a bonny monk. Sir W. Scott.

4.

To talk or converse in; to utter or pronounce, as in conversation; as, to speak Latin.

And French she spake full fair and fetisely. Chaucer.

5.

To address; to accost; to speak to.

[He will] thee in hope; he will speak thee fair. Ecclus. xiii. 6.

each village senior paused to scan And speak the lovely caravan. Emerson.

To speak a ship Naut., to hail and speak to her captain or commander.

 

© Webster 1913.

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