Friday, August 24, 2018
Review and Friday Quotes: Speak---A Graphic Novel
Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the opening quote from the book.
The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
This is the book I'm reading right now---
Title: Speak: a graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Emily Carroll
Review and comments: I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson over ten years ago. It was one of the first Printz award recipients and when I became a high school librarian I wanted to back fill my knowledge of YA Lit so I read as many of the award books as I could get my hands on at the time. Speak was in a league of its own with such a relevant and heartbreaking story of a young teenage girl, Melinda, having something traumatic happen to her at a party before freshman year. Her reaction to the trauma was to call the police which got a bunch of people in trouble. This caused people to treat her like a peria at school. She was so traumatized she couldn't speak. She spends her whole freshman year in silent torture. Her grades suffer as she sinks into serious depression. Not until the end of the book do we learn what kind of trauma she experienced at the party. By then we learn the value of speaking up in defense of oneself.
Speak: the graphic novel is a wonderful retelling of the original story. In fact, maybe because it has been so many years since I read the original that I think this, a graphic novel is a perfect medium to tell the story. Emily Carroll's illustrations fill in for words and the reader can really experience the loneliness and depression that Melinda is experiencing.
The graphic novel is a bit different than the novel, at least in my memory. The parents seem meaner and more distracted in this version. The art teacher is weirder. The exclusion by past friends more profound. But the impact of the drawings may have brought those aspects of the story forward.
The snapshots are from pages two and 56. In the first snapshot Melinda is on the school bus on her first day of high school. Already the bad treatment from classmates has begun and her self confidence is down: "I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache." The snapshot of page 56 shows her at dinner with her parents. "Dinner Theater: My parents make threatening noises, turning dinner into badly acted performance art."
Can you relate? Have you ever experienced a time when people misunderstood you and no matter what you did or said nothing helped? I can. This book is for everyone who needs to learn it is okay to speak up!
It took me less than a day to read this 350 page graphic novel. I just tore through it. I highly recommend you read it and then go back and read/re-read the original.