Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
Melinda’s first year in High School starts but it is nothing like the exciting time you might imagine. The reason why is a party during the holidays; there, Melinda had to call the police which resulted in a lot of trouble for many people. Nobody knows why she did it and she is determined not to say one word about it. While she fights with what happened, her classmates avoid her and call her a spoilsport; not even her so-called friends stand by her, even though Melinda needs their support more than ever before. Otherwise, she might completely lose control.
“Speak” might have been fantastic if it had clicked between us. It tells the story of a girl who experienced something horrible, but instead of talking about it, Melinda remains silent, hoping to forget what was done to her. It is obvious that it does not do her any good and with every day her state gets worse. She withdraws, her marks worsen and she is not only affected mentally but also physically. She has no energy left; some passages about the High School life might be funny, but in general her mood shows in the text.
Still, I could never really relate to Melinda. Of course I felt sorry for her, especially since I knew what happened to her before even starting the book. I did hope for her to find the strength and courage to talk to someone – because that is the only thing that could possibly help her and also others. But it was never more; it would not even have been necessary to completely understand her (which I did). If I compare “Speak” with “Wintergirls” then I can get better into Melinda’s head than into Lia’s. Lia is anorexic and starves herself to death – I cannot say I will ever truly understand that and I am glad about it. However, I could relate better to Lia than to Melinda.
Normally, that would be a small problem, but in this case the story concentrates on the protagonist and her efforts to find her way back into everyday life. It is interesting and moving, but the latter could be more so – maybe it is good it is not, though. Some parts of the book could get rather depressing if it were more intense. Even so it is very sad.
What you can say for sure is that Melinda suffers more and more from depression which is reflected in the text. The farther we go, the more the events of the day monotonously follow one another and seem less important with every hour – what is the matter anyway, why should she even try? Most scenes are also very short, because what is there to tell? Instead, we get little sections, which you might like or not. Only every now and then we get to see something else than indifference when Melinda is reminded of what happened – it might even happen when they have to dissect frogs. The memory lurks everywhere and does not care about the girl it haunts.
Even linguistically the book is “loose”, just as you might expect it from a pupil. All in all, it seemed too loose and clipped for me, though the text is still nice to read. It is a small problem again, and in this case it really does not count much.
“Speak” could have been great, but I was unable to really relate to the protagonist and I thought the style was a little bit too clipped. In the end, it is a story about a girl that has to learn that we should and need to talk about what troubles us and pulls us down in order to be able to heal. The book shows what can happen if we remain silent. Therefore, I am not the least bit sorry to have read it, but I think there might be better literature about this topic.