Book Basics

Title:

Speak

Author:

Laurie Halse Anderson

Published:

October 1999

Pages:

224

Genres:

Fiction, Novel, Children's Literature

Synopsis

Speak, published in 1999, is Laurie Halse Anderson's young adult novel that tells the story of Melinda Sordino's rape, recovery, and confession. After being raped at a party, Melinda is ostracized by her peers because she will not say why she called the police. Unable to verbalize what happened, Melinda nearly stops speaking altogether, expressing her voice through the art she produces for Mr. Freeman's class. This expression slowly helps Melinda acknowledge that she was raped, face her attacker, and recreate her identity. Speak is considered a problem novel, or trauma novel. Melinda's story is written in a diary format, consisting of a nonlinear plot and jumpy narrative that mimics the trauma she experienced. Additionally, Anderson employs intertextual symbolism in the narrative, incorporating fairy tale imagery, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and Maya Angelou, to further represent Melinda's trauma. Since it was published, the novel has won several awards and has been translated into sixteen languages. The book has faced censorship for the sexual content of Melinda's rape. In 2004, Jessica Sharzer directed the film adaptation, starring Kristen Stewart as Melinda.

Characters

Melinda Sordino, Rachel Bruin, Andy Evans, Heather, Ivy

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