Oct 31, 2010

Audio Review - Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From the Publisher:
Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute...

By Laurie Halse Anderson; Mandy Siegfried (Read by)
(Listening Library (Audio), Compact Disc, 9780739336724)

I have owned Speak for a long time, but decided to pick up the audio version at the library. 

I just can't believe this is Anderson's first novel. Only one word comes to mind...masterpiece! Melinda is a freshman in high school, and attends a party where things go horribly wrong. For much of the book, we are not sure of the details of that fateful night. All we know is that after that night, Melinda's life begins to fall apart. She looses all of her friends (they aren't too happy she called the cops and busted up the party), her grades plummet, and she falls silent. Silent to everyone. Speak reads like a memoir to me. I believe every. Single. Word. All of it. There wasn't one question in my mind that the fictional life of Melinda is the real life of countless young women across the world. 

Mandy Siegfried was a fantastic reader. Her voice was young, fresh, and a perfect choice. This book has a place in every single library with teens and young adults. I can't imagine how many girls have read Speak and said, "Oh my God, I am Melinda." 

5 out of 5 stars