Musings of a Bibliomaniac

Goodreads immigrant. Another victim of corporate tyranny. I blog at Musings of a Bibliomaniac along with my co-blogger Scarlet.


Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson 7/02/2013

Is THIS the culprit book? Is this the one that started it all?
The 'OMG-I-was-raped-and-so-I-stopped-speaking-to-cope-with-the-trauma' trend?
Honestly what is wrong with today's YA writers?
If a girl has been sexually abused, please write about how she should go to the police station right away instead of finding a hot guy to help her deal with her problems and moping in weird ways imaginable.

EDIT - 8/02/2013

The trouble with Speak lies in the fact that I went in with too many expectations.
After coming across a slew of sappy stories on sexually assaulted female leads who get a second chance at life and love, I was tempted to find the root cause of this malady afflicting contemporary YA.
And 'Speak', given its published date, fame and banned status, seemed like the likely culprit.
Pulkit's and Scarlet's glowing reviews were other reasons which compelled me to read this book.

Well let me come out and say it now.
I liked it. I did.
I felt my chest constricting at times for this unfortunate, young girl who had not a single person in the world by her side when she was going through this terrible, terrible time. I felt ill thinking about society's habit of ostracizing the victim of a crime but not the perpetrator and how difficult that makes it for the victim to summon the courage to speak up, report the matter.
And I could almost relate to Melinda's escapist attitude. Almost.
But there are few things that I need to say here.

I think the first step towards healing for a victim of such a heinous crime, is justice. Without justice there can be no moving on - friends, understanding parents, concerned acquaintances notwithstanding.
A girl of 13, obviously had trouble acknowledging the truth even to herself. She was too young to handle the enormity of it or even to realize that fact she was NOT to blame.
But I found her unwillingness to tell her parents a little unrealistic. There's a portion of a monologue in the book where she says something along the lines of 'Would you even listen? Would you believe?'.
Wow Melinda, did you really think your parents won't believe you?
She expects the supposed former 'best friend' who shunned her completely, to believe her but not her parents. That was sheer stupidity in my opinion.
Barring that I don't have any complaints with Melinda.

Another thing which I must mention is the way Speak felt more like a scathing commentary on American high schools. Anderson's critique of the way high schools function tended to distract me from the main issue.
Was this about exploring the aftermath of sexual assault from the victim's point of view? Or was this about surviving the jungle called 'high school'?

And what of the maddeningly vague and abrupt ending?
I wanted to know what happens to Melinda's tormentor in the end. Why this willingness to talk about the crime but reluctance to focus on the justice part?
It's almost as if Anderson side-stepped the issue and the critical part to make things easier.
Melinda's process of recovery can never be complete until she gets justice. That is my opinion.

Okay now since that rant is out of my system, let me say how much I admire the author for daring to write on this sensitive subject and handling it as maturely as possible.
And for those people who continue to be the reason why this book faces censorship, here's a middle finger salute from me. All the unpleasantness in the world doesn't go away if we keep our eyes tightly shut and pretend it doesn't exist.
Writing about rape is not the problem. The unsympathetic way in which we deal with women's issues even in this day and age, IS.
And it's high time we admit it.

Currently reading

Padgett Powell
The Pure Gold Baby
Margaret Drabble
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear
Progress: 28 %