By: Laurie Halse Anderson


Melinda Sordino's life is devastatingly shattered after an encounter with Andy Evans. During a summer party, she gets drunk and he takes advantage of her, not caring whether she wants it or not. Traumatized, she attempts to calls the cops but comes to a halt midway when she gets caught by others. In result, everyone, including her friends, is repulsed by her betrayal and she falls into the slippery slope of depression without any support from anyone. Andy also decides that rape wasn't enough to torment her so he continues to subtly harass her throughout the school year. Despite this, for awhile, she never confesses what he did to her. However, when she finally takes back control over her life and speaks up, it's only her first step to her mental recovery.

"A small, clean part of me waits to warm and break through the surface. Some quiet Melindagirl I haven't seen in months. That is the seed I will care for." (Anderson 188&189).

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Melinda Sordino

Melinda, the protagonist, is a teenage girl in her freshman year. She doesn't care too much about her physical appearance and therefore doesn't put a lot of effort into it. She constantly fights a battle with depression and in result, she only feels numb whenever someone harasses her or any situation like that. However, anxiety still wells up inside of her every time she runs into Andy so her first instinct is to flee whenever she sees him. Of course, she also hasn't had a lasting or healthy relationship with anyone since the incident.

"Her friends scootch down to make room for her. They swallow her whole and she never looks back at me. Not once." (Anderson 107).

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Melinda has encountered multiple types of conflict in different ways. Because of her mental state, she qualifies for character vs. nature but also character vs. self. Furthermore, since Andy sexually assaulted her, she too faces character vs. character. She additionally deals with character vs. society because ever since the party, everybody either ignores her or treats her like she's worthless. "The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me." (Anderson 4).

Despite having to put up with all that she has, she eventually overcame all of her fears and Andy bedevils her for the last time when she finally fights back, both physically and verbally. She finally realizes that she needs help and confides in the people she felt that she could trust the most.


A life lesson that Speak really emphasizes on is that when you face an obstacle, in order to overcome it, you must push past your comfort zone and speak out when necessary. It isn't a sin to need help from others. Melinda's life was ruined after she was raped and it would only have worsened if she didn't get the help that she crucially needed.

"This is where you can find your soul, if you dare. Where you can touch that part of you that you've never dared to look at before." (Anderson 10).

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"The tears dissolve the last block of ice in my throat. I feel the frozen stillness melt down through the inside of me, dripping shards of ice that vanish in a puddle of sunlight on the stained floor. Words float up." (Anderson 198).

I found that this quote was so powerful because it shines on the moment where Melinda finally shows true improvement and takes a positive step in her life.

Book Review

I would give Speak 4/5 stars because it's written extremely well and thoroughly explains the behavior of a depressed person that has gone through traumatizing experiences. She includes many meaningful symbols and packs emotion in certain parts. However, some fragments of the book are slightly unrealistic and exaggerated. For instance, everybody completely despised her and acted almost immature when she called the police. I believe that in that situation, at least some people would learn to forgive her and act at least decent towards her. Overall, despite some small details, the book is a great read and contains a lot of educational and significant lessons.
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More Information about Sexual Assault

Speak movie Trailer 2004 HD Kristen Stewart



Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999. Print.


Lodge, Sally. Speak. Digital image. PublishersWeekly. N.p., 1 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 May 2016.

Nguyen, Angela. Melinda Sordino. Digital image. Tumblr. N.p., 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 11 May 2016.

North End. 4/5 Stars. Digital image. North End Pub&Grill. North End, 2014. Web. 12 May 2016.

Rachmakayan. Melinda. Digital image. In Between Book Pages. N.p., 14 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 May 2016.


Foley, Mick. "RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network | RAINN: The Nation's Largest Anti-sexual Assault Organization.One of "America's 100 Best Charities" -Worth Magazine." RAINN. Office for Victims of Crime, n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

Piehl, Norah Caroline. "Speak - Book Review." Speak Book Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.


Movie Trailers and Commercial. "Speak Movie Trailer 2004 HD Kristen Stewart." YouTube. YouTube, 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 May 2016.