The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Find a quote from page 56.
And a review, of sorts to follow---
Title: SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
Introduction: Finding my courage to speak up twenty-five years after I was raped, writing Speak, and talking with countless survivors of sexual violence made me who I am today.Friday 56:
I didn't speak up / when the boy raped me, instead I scalded / myself in the shower and turned / me into the ghost of the girl / I once was, my biggest fear / being that my father, / no stranger to gaming/ would kill that boy.Summary: This memoir, written in verse by the author of Speak is divided into three parts. Part one---Anderson's poems have to do with her early life, growing up in a dysfunctional family with parents who drink too much, move too often, and a father who is living with what we now call PTSD from his experiences serving as a soldier during WWII. Anderson was often the misfit at school and the target of bullies. Right before high school, she was raped by an older boy and she was obviously traumatized by the experience but didn't tell anyone until many years later. Her behavior did change, though, and she got dangerously involved in drug use before a suggestion from a teacher that she join a sports team saved her. Part two---The poems show the progress that Anderson makes as an adult and her doggedness at becoming a writer. She kept at it until Speak was finally published. The book was an instant hit, probably because it gave voice to many teens/kids experiences. The popularity of the book catapulted Anderson into a role as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence. Part three---The shortest segment of the book, the poems return to Anderson's family, including her parents. We find a woman who is at peace with herself and her role.
Review: I can't begin to tell you how impactful this book is. Anderson's life circumstances were as bad or worse than stories we read about in fiction. No wonder people could relate to the protagonist of Speak, Melinda, because she emerged out of the ashes of Anderson's own experiences. I would warn readers, however, that the book may be a trigger book.
I like reading books written in verse, especially when the poetry is good, so I enjoyed my reading experience. I hope this book is placed prominently in libraries so that teens or any sexual violence survivors can get their hands on it.
Here is one more quote, a portion from my favorite poem entitled, "reminder":
...the spines of books connect / page to page / writer to reader / teacher to student / page to page / past to future / pain to power / page to page / rage to peace. (289)I checked out the print edition from my public library. I love libraries!