Customer Reviews for

Speak

Average Rating 4.5
( 2051 )
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(48)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

111 out of 120 people found this review helpful.

AMAZING

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 198 paged book written in 1999 and published by Penguin Putnam Inc. It is a young adult book that is taught in many different freshman English classrooms since it does have a 9.4 grade level on the SMOG readability test.
This book de...
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a 198 paged book written in 1999 and published by Penguin Putnam Inc. It is a young adult book that is taught in many different freshman English classrooms since it does have a 9.4 grade level on the SMOG readability test.
This book deals with the freshman year of a girl who was raped at a party the summer between middle school and high school. She doesn't tell anyone what happened. Speak dissects the multiple difficulties she encounters as she keeps silent about what happened to her and how her reactions cause her parents, basically the entire student body and most teachers to react negatively towards her. It also looks at how Melinda, the main character, finally comes to terms with what happened to her and her confrontation of the rape and rapist; ending with her finally telling her story.
This book has been criticized and censored as a teaching tool due to the subject matter being considered too `difficult' and `dark' for such a young audience and the plot being too `formulaic.' The plot is a bit formulaic but this only accents the bare honesty of Melinda's troubles and the complex emotions she is feeling. Personally, I believe this book to be very true to life, correctly depicting the reactions of a rape victim who turns survivor. The subject matter is dealt with in a very true and honest manner, something that is important for this grade level. This book looks at a very real problem and deals with it in a very real way. Thus this subject matter is made appropriate for the grade level through the way it is written about and the conversations it than creates. Speak is the most true to life book I have found on this subject matter at any readability or grade level and I highly recommend it to anyone who can deal with an honest portrayal of a horrible occurrence.

posted by 1Katherine1 on September 8, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

Why?

I was in eight grade when myself - as well as my entire class - was assigned to read "Speak" as required reading. Now, I fully realize that most students are going hate required reading by default, but that's not at all why Speak warrants only one star ((in fact, severa...
I was in eight grade when myself - as well as my entire class - was assigned to read "Speak" as required reading. Now, I fully realize that most students are going hate required reading by default, but that's not at all why Speak warrants only one star ((in fact, several required reading assignments all throughout middle and high school were quite enjoyable)). Ultimately, it's Speak's unrelated, fairly whiny protagonist coupled with an flat story that finds little resolution that keeps it from being halfway decent.

Although the book is written with first person narrative, few readers are going to find themselves relating to Melinda. I realize the events earlier ((rape and subsequent isolation by her peers)) are cause for some introspection and sulking, but she really never sets out to right the sources of her depression. She comes off as more than a little pathetic and it's hard to even have sympathy for a character who really can't find the resolution or strength to try to remedy the situation that has her so down.

Character issues aside, the story can't save Speak either. It was hard to find a substantial plot underneath the endless, monotonous days at school and constant whimpering about her former best friend ((and more than a little agonizing over French fries)). The story simply drags along and readers are supposed to find some form of meaning as Melinda sketches a tree in her art class. This is pretty much the most interesting part of the book, sadly enough. And when the book finally draws to a close, things wrap up neatly on the surface but the ending just doesn't sit right. Melinda doesn't truly face all her issues, but rather everything in the external world is magically solved and happy again. More than a little unrealistic.

The author's efforts were honorable enough, and I can respect what she was trying to pull off with Speak. But the book just doesn't work. Maybe if we had a more likable, stronger main character with a richer plot that involves more than self-pity and school scenes, Speak would have the potential to accomplish what it sets out to do. However, it simply isn't there.

posted by AiriFox on October 8, 2010

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Speak..

    After reading the reviews and reading what the book was about, I thought I would enjoy this book, however, the book seemed to have no point. The book was nothing but the young girls day to day classes in high school. It was very hard to finish reading this book, due to the boringness, but I did complete and I am now starting on her book Wintergirls, and I hope this book will be more appealing. If these type of books are your taste I recommend Willow, everyone I shared Willow with loved it!!

    14 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    It wasn't very good...

    I didn't like this book very much. i thought it was just okay. i got bored in alot of parts of the book and almost couldn't finish the book.

    6 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2000

    Not the greatest.

    I originally bought this book through the Teen People Book Club, and I couldn't wait to get it. The reviews were outstanding, as was the description, however, I was sort of disappointed when I finally finished it. To me, the book really had no plot, and really had nothing to do with the decriptions and summaries provided, the book went on and on about how horrible Melinda's Freshman year was, yet the author didn't use very many details, and the book sort of got boring, the ending was really BLAH like, as was most of the story.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book has a lot of pages and no meaning. Theres not really a plot or a problem. This author just keeps rambling on and on. This ending is awful. I recomend you do not read the book.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2002

    Not what I expected...

    I read this book to gain more insight on how other teenage rape survivors felt and didn't find it in this book. This book was definately not a great as the reviews made it out to be. I would not recommend this book to anyone over 18, or to someone who was looking for insight as to what a teenage rape survivor really feels.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Not so good.

    My friends read this book and they loved it, so i read it to. I didnt like it at all it was boring and the ownly good part was the last 5 page. I wouldnt recommend it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    An Unrealistic Portrayel Of Life

    I wouldn't reccomend this novel as a read for people who don't enjoy dissapointment. This story featured a girl who lied to her parents, snuck out to a party and got drunk-but when something bad happens it's Andy Evans fault. It's a sad story for a girl who couldn't just make the right decision. She complains that life is miserable, the story makes it seem okay for her poor attitude and behaviour. That is not life. The characters in the story are not realistic. Very few parts are. Obviously I wouldn't reccomend this story for people who enjoy reading GOOD books.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    Disappointing

    Honestly, I thought Speak wasn't all that great. It was slow paced and the author took too long to get to the details of the party. If anyone wants to read a good paced, interesting teen fiction novel, I recommend Crank or Burned.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2006

    disappointing..

    all my friends told me they loved the book.. so i decided to read it.. and it wasn't as good as i hoped.. didn't keep me coming back for more

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    umm predictable

    this book was NOT a shocker. its just a depressing book about this loser girl then in the final last ten pages the story is told which you can pretty much predict by reading the first couple chapters. so no. i dont think this was interesting at all.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2006

    Pretty disapointing

    When I picked up this book i was hoping for an intresting read.I was really dissapointed.It is very slow moving at the beggining and the middle of the book,and gets boring.It has a lot of unimportant information that dont affect the plot in any way and are just there to add pages to the book.If you have ever had a real tragedy in your life youll notice how unrealistic it is.The author doesnt explain the main characters deppresion well enough to the point that at times you doubt it.There is no suspense,either,besides the fact that a lot of people say there is.Overall,if you are a mature reader,this is not the book for you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2006

    Who would want to Speak?

    In this book, Laurie Anderson writes about a girl who stopped a party and called the cops. I didn't like this book at all. It get really boring and all the reviews said it was really good.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2005

    Not Good

    i didnt like this book at all, because there is no story and she doesnt talk to anyone & you already know wat happened to her after reading a couple pages. The only thing that was good is that it shows wat happens if you dont speak out against wat happened to her.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2005

    Expectations Not Met In The Book 'Speak'

    Speak was not my idea of a interesting book. It lacked a a few things. For example, her parents would not do anything to help her. Aren't your parents supposed to look after you? And make sure everything is ok? She went through so much, but no matter what her parents would not bother with her. Her friends also! Who cares if she did call the police to calm the party down! Something bad happened to her, so of course your going to do anything to get help! Another thing I did not like from the story is that she involved too many people in her life! All her teachers, all her ex-friends, and that guy who she called 'IT'. When i first read a little bit about the book, I right away thought that she had gotten raped, but the way the author put it was that something worse than that had happened! And it took forever for her to finally say she did get raped! She mentioned this towards the end of the book, so that was a disappointment to me. If your the type of person who likes to read books which get right into the point, then do not read this book, it is not for you! Then again, if you like books which involve too many people, and take forever to get to the point, then go ahead and read it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2004

    Speak

    i had to read this book for english and had to read it in one night and i finished in three hours. I understand the whole social outkast because that is kinda something i can realte to. I mean i can relate to her alot, But there was something missing in the books. It was overall boring and not amusing to me. Real highschool isn;t like that either there are no suh thinsg as everyone is devided into different groups its not like that its moreless everyman for themeselves. My friend love this book but personally if i where to cmpare this to any iris johanson novel it will be very low. The book isnt very detailed about whta happened. Ways to imrprove the book: *more contact with andy * don't make her life so fairytailish * meaner friends * a better story line

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2003

    Slooooowwww beginning

    I read this for a shared reading to a group of 9th and 10th grade students and they begged me to quit. They hated the slowness of the beginning and the fact that Melinda was so negative.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Disappointing

    Other people told me that this book was good but when i read it i found in didappointing and depressing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    I read the reviews on this book and thought it would be great an

    I read the reviews on this book and thought it would be great and I had loved Wintergirls, so I bought this and it was so.. bleh. Nothing really exciting had happened until the end. You just followed her around her classes and she hardly spoke at all...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Awsome book

    Best book i ever read

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