By Laurie Halse Anderson


The book, Speak, is about a freshman girl named Melinda Sordino who is going through severe depression. She called the cops on a party which made her hated by all of her friends. Meanwhile none of them know that she called the police because she was raped by a senior named Andy Evans. In the book she is very lonely and does not speak because she thinks that nobody cares. She expresses this idea when she says,"It's easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say."(Page 9) As the book goes on she gets help from friends, adults, and even art which pulls her out of this sad state of mind.

Character Analysis

Melinda Sordino is the main character of Speak who is lonely, quiet, and severely depressed. Under all of the sorrow there is a really bright and happy girl who is covered by this constant sadness. She doesn't care about how she looks so she dresses in clothes that are sloppy. She shows this when she says,"I wear basic dumpster togs- smelly gray turtleneck and jeans. (Page 39) She doesn't like speaking and tries to avoid any situation where she would have too.


There are multiple conflicts in the book Speak. One of the conflicts is Man vs Self. In the book Melinda is trying to fight the depression inside of her. She keeps working on it by doing little things to make her happy or pull her out of the mindset she is in. Eventually she decides that she wants to be happy and speaks out for herself. At the end of the book she says," IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding."(Page 198) This quote shows that Melinda has faced the problem that is causing her to feel like this and made peace with it. The other conflict in the book is Man vs Society. Almost everyone hates her and are against her. She fights through this conflict by telling everyone the truth on what happened and finally speaking out about her feelings.


There is a very important theme in the book Speak. The theme is that you should never judge someone before you know the whole story. “I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears?"(page 188). This is a quote from Melinda when she is talking about the pain that she is going through. Nobody knows what she is going through but they judge her anyway. This book teaches you that you should always think about what else is happening in someone else's life before judging them.
Speak movie Trailer 2004 HD Kristen Stewart

Textual Evidence

The part of this book that hit me the most was when Melinda was talking about how she needed a friend. She says,"I need a new friend. I need a friend, period. Not a true friend, nothing close or share clothes or sleepover giggle giggle yak yak. Just a pseudo-friend, disposable friend. Friend as accessory. Just so I don't feel or look so stupid."(Page 22) This quote made me realize how important just being a friend to someone could be.

Book Rating

I would rate the book Speak four stars out of five. I would give it this rating because although it was a little slow and depressing at times it has a good theme. Many kids could learn not to judge someone before you get to know them and how important being a nice person could be. Overall I think this is a good book that gives insight on a problem that some people could have.


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

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Speak Trailer. Dir. Jessica Sharzer. Perf. Kristen Stewart. Youtube. Google, 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 11 May 2016. <https://youtu.be/ySpPkHZ66aI>.