Speak is a great book with a very important message for teens to speak up for themselves, whether they can relate with the novel’s protagonist Melinda and what she goes through or not.
Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of Speak, has heard countless stories from sexual assault survivors and is a careful listener in these situations and urges them to talk to someone closer that can get them the help they need. This is the role that we should all take if someone is brave enough to speak to us about an issue. Laurie mentions The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (http://rainn.org) as having great resources for victims.
Laurie says “I’ve learned that Speak is not just a book about rape. Speak is a book about depression. That is why it has resonated so deeply for so many readers. Today’s teens have to cope with massive amounts of stress and conflict. Way too many of them understand the pain of not feeling they can speak up. This book reflects their experience and offers them hope.”
It’s easy for us as adults to not take a young adult’s issues very seriously. “It’s only high school. There are bigger worries in life.” But we have to remember that for them whatever they are going through right now is the most important. Especially if they are dealing with something as serious as a sexual assault. We cannot be emotionally neglective or too busy to notice a person in despair. It’s also our responsibility to speak up for those who can’t find their voice.