Speak, or my contribution to Banned Books Week

If I’d had my act together, I would have planned on celebrating Banned Books Week all week long. Instead, I can barely manage to get a post up. But I did make the decision to finally read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson this week. It’s been on my TBR list for ages and I actually checked it out of the library before the recent controversy grabbed the attention of the book world. Again, I’ve been a bit absent so I missed a lot of the Speak Loudly campaign but I caught enough to force me to actually sit down with the novel.

I don’t have a lot to say. I think the book stands well on its own and on the praise of all those who have already discussed it. I think it’s important for young women (and men) to have a book like this. One that illustrates the pain, shame, and silence that many girls feel after being raped or abused. One that supports them, that gets them. One that gives them the strength to speak up.

The fact that anyone would think this book was pornography appalls and angers me. Not only is silencing a book like Speak a travesty to free speech (and more than a little ironic), there is absolutely nothing about this book that is pornographic. I am against banning books (though I support parents’ rights to shape what their own children read) but I am ABSOLUTELY against banning this one. If anything, it should be required reading. If you need need convincing, read April’s post about why this book is necessary.

I didn’t want to write a normal review because I wasn’t sure how. But Speak is a smart, well-written novel and I highly recommend it. Plus, if when you read it, you’ll be standing up to ignorant people like that guy in Missouri.

9 thoughts on “Speak, or my contribution to Banned Books Week

  1. Amy September 30, 2010 / 8:49 am

    I’m really glad that the controversy convinced you to pick it up 🙂 I’m also glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Isn’t it a wonderful book?


  2. Kristie September 30, 2010 / 9:51 am

    Glad you picked up this book for BBW!! I saw a few posts about it recently which reminded me that BBW happens about now, and I found out it was already happening! I’ve posted a couple of things about BBW.

    By the way, I’m reading Beloved by Toni Morrison to celebrate BBW 🙂


  3. Iris September 30, 2010 / 2:29 pm

    I hope to read this at some point, especially because of the recent controversy. Like you, I would have trouble writing a “normal” review of this, since so much has been said about this book already.


  4. HulaMonkey September 30, 2010 / 2:56 pm

    Anderson is an extraordinarily writer. I read this book when it released with my (at the time) 10th grade daughter. It is an extremely thoughtful book and absolutely appropriate to read. Lessons for all to think about – a subject that needs to be discussed. – Thank you for your most excellent post.


  5. Vishy October 2, 2010 / 8:31 am

    Wonderful post, Michelle! I hope to read ‘Speak’ sometime. I remember Scroggins mentioning that ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ by Kurt Vonnegut should also be banned 🙂 I still can’t fathom why!


  6. Jen - Devourer of Books October 4, 2010 / 2:41 pm

    I had my act together to properly celebrate Banned Books Week the first year I blogged, but never since then. So sad!


    • Michelle October 4, 2010 / 5:43 pm

      I rarely have my act together for anything. 😉


  7. Michelle October 4, 2010 / 7:19 pm

    Wasn’t Speak just a fabulous read? I agree with you, that anyone thinks it’s pornography is just completely beyond me. It’s just the type of book that children should be reading and learning from.

    Glad you enjoyed it.


    • TopherGL October 4, 2010 / 8:30 pm

      What she said. Was a wonderful book and one that they use in the school I’m at – I think for ninth or tenth grade. Just great writing.


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