I just finished Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I am not okay.
*explosion of emotions*
*unsettling feeling that is excruciatingly difficult to swallow*
*big deep breath while I attempt to gather my thoughts*
I don’t even know where to begin.
Melinda’s story is so profoundly jarring and deeply moving and possibly one of the best told stories I have ever read.
The fact that this novel is written in first person point of view and is so incredibly accurate and raw, there was no doubt in my mind that Melinda was— is real.
Every detail, every aspect of her life is overpoweringly deep and earnest and I think the author wrote this character in a way where I felt like I was listening to her tell her story and struggle to come to terms with her life and what happened to her.
This is definitely one of the most difficult stories to listen to but also one of the most important stories that needs to be told. And it was told so well, so precise and detailed and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The tone of the novel was sincere and intense and overwhelming.
Any reader, ANY reader, wether male or female, old or young, any human can relate to Melinda in many, if not all, aspects of her life, her growth, and her struggle.
I absolutely loved how the focus of her story was not the aftermath of people knowing but rather her coming to terms with what happened, to her not doubting herself, to her growth in fighting back, to her learning how to speak.
And any victim or any person who’s dealing with anything, wether it’s rape or depression or self esteem issues, whatever it may be, the most important thing to learn is to believe in yourself. Learning to grow as a person and deal with whatever you’re dealing with in a way that shapes you to be someone who can overcome anything. Someone who fights back. Someone who can and will speak up.
I feel like this is one of the most important things to take from this book and Melinda’s journey throughout the entirety of the novel shows it.
And the afterword.
The Afterword by Jason Reynolds.
Adding it to the end of the novel just adds to the intensity of the novel. Anyone who finished this and still wasn’t sure how to feel and what can be done, what to learn from this story, now does.
Just from 2/3 pages I was incredibly moved and overcome with emotions.
Everything about this book was breathtaking and perplexing and I cant recommend this enough.
I gave this book 5/5 stars as it so rightly deserves.