Great book. Makes you understand to not judge people if you don't know what happened to them. Also teaches you to speak up. After reading this book I learned about Melinda's, the main character's mistakes. I would recommend this to every reader out there especially students in high school since I had a big unit on this. Have fun reading this book.
Here is one of my paragraphs from the unit. DON'T COPYRIGHT.
In the story Speak written by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda is a creative, shy and fearful character. One of Melinda’s character traits is that she is creative. The only subject she gets A in is art, since that is the only class where she feels comfortable and expresses her secrets by drawing. Moreover, her art teacher, Mr. Freeman gives a project that takes most of the year and Melinda uses that project to draw a tree; the tree represents her mental state at the time. At the end of the story, Melinda’s old friends begin to understand her; she realizes that she wasn’t the only one who was assaulted and starts to see “birds bloom in the light, their feathers expanding promise”. (197) She creatively shows that her life is becoming better in her art through the optimistic image of flying birds. Another characteristic that Melinda has and that hurt her a lot throughout the story is that she is shy. Melinda’s problem was that she was too shy to speak up and tell the truth about what happened to her; that hurt her a lot since she became lonely, depressed, and started doing poorly in school. One day, while Melinda was sitting alone in the bus and thinking to herself, she hears some kids behind her laughing loudly about her. She then turns around and discovers that it was her ex-best friend, Rachel Bruin. Rachel starts to stare at her and Melinda wants to say something, but cannot. It was like “words climb up [her] “throat”, and she is unable to speak (5). The author, Laurie Halse Anderson, uses this metaphor to show how hard was for her to speak up even to someone she was once extremely close to. In addition, an event that supports that Melinda is shy is when her parents have a meeting with the principal. The reason why they had this meeting was because of her poor grades in school and her recent absences. In that meeting they try to ask Melinda to solve this problem, but Melinda doesn’t say anything throughout the whole meeting, and her mother knows that “she won’t say anything! [they couldn’t get] a word out of her. She’s mute” (114). Melinda has become so reserved and shy because of the traumatic event that happened at the party. Furthermore, Melinda is also a fearful character. After the attack happened in the party before school started, Melinda called the police, but was too afraid to tell them what happened to her. Meanwhile, people at school and her friends started to hate her because they thought she called the police to ruin the party. Additionally, one day in English class, Melinda’s ex-best friend Rachel doesn’t agree with her English teacher, Mrs. Hairwoman, about symbolism and speaks up about it. Unfortunately, her teacher is upset that someone is trying to prove her wrong, so she gets mad and gives lots of homework to the class. After that event, Melinda sees how the whole class is unhappy with Rachel and thinks to herself “that’s what you get for speaking up” (102). This was important since it made it harder for her to tell her friends what happened to her at the party because she thinks it might make it worse. In conclusion, the reason why Melinda gets these characteristics is because of other characters, events, and symbols such as Mr Freeman or the party; this also relates to us as we are influenced by our surroundings.