Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and published in 1999, Speak won eight state book awards and was a finalist for eleven.

Book cover

The story begins with Melinda Sordino's first day of high school. She dreads it, and for good reason.

At the end of summer before her freshman year, Melinda and her best friend, Rachel, had gone to a party with a group of high school friends. Everyone was drinking, including Melinda.

Her friends – now her former friends – will have nothing to do with her. Melinda had gotten them in trouble. She had called 911. The cops came and broke up the party. Some of the kids were arrested.

Rachel and the other students don't know the real reason Melinda called the police. She had fled the party and walked home.

Now she is forced to endure Rachel's anger and that of her other former friends. Worst of all, she will have to face the boy who was her real reason for the 911 call.

She has told no one what happened. Not the police, not her parents, no one. She can't. She can hardly speak at all

The 2004 film based on the book stars Kristen Stewart as Melinda.

DVD available from Amazon

* * * 

Wesley Scroggins, an assistant professor at Missouri State University in Springfield, is "concerned" about some of the books in the Republic, MO schools. He says they "teach principles contrary to the Bible."

According to  him, Speak is one of those books. He believes it should be removed from the classroom.

The Springfield, MO News-Leader states that Scroggins "has been concerned for some time what students in the schools are being taught."

In April 2010, he complained about the material used in sex education – a pamphlet describing how to avoid contracting HIV.

In July 2011, the Republic school board members voted to keep Speak.

Scroggins said it was "unfortunate" that they decided to keep it.

  * * * 

My thoughts

I do not understand this kind of thinking. Do some people have the idea that if rape isn't mentioned, then it doesn't happen?

Denying access to books like this sends the message that rape is not to be talked about, even if it happens to you.

And what about Scroggins' complaint about the literature about protection from HIV? That's a bad thing? Would he and others who agree with him rather kids did not protect themselves?

I think we all know how well that "abstinence only" thing that some like to preach is working!

Adults being in denial doesn't change facts. Sex is happening in the teen world, like it or not. So is rape. Far more often than we imagine. Let's educate our kids, encourage them to talk, and listen when they do.

I highly recommend this book.

I think Speak is a book every teenager and their parents should read. Plus anyone who works with children and/or teens.

Book available from Amazon

Back to Banned Books

Back to For Love of Books

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Privacy Policy

 Copyright © 2020 for-love-of-books.com