Monday, May 26, 2008


This past school year I read out loud Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson to my 8th graders home room. I don't really like young adult novels, I know I teach middle school, but this book awed me with its wonderfulness. Speak is told from the perspective of a witty, bright ninth grade girl filled with angst and anger. She has reason for the anger; she was assaulted by a creepy predatory senior guy. What follows is her year of coping with this incident and her perspective on mean girls and clueless teachers. So that’s the book. Now for the movie. At the end of this school year we watched the independent film of the movie with the kids. It’s PG-13, but ok for 8th graders, I thought. When you love a book, you really want the movie to not ruin your view of the book. My favorite movie interpretation of a book is Of Mice and Men, 1992, John Malkovich version. Speak may be coming in second. This movie exceeded my expectations. The lead, Melinda played by Kristen Stewart, is great. The cool, hippy art teacher played by Steve Zahn is hilarious and the whole movie is moving and authentic. I actually wanted to watch it again after I saw it with the kids. Well, it is hard to concentrate when you are watching a movie with 50 8th graders but still.
So I suggest you (meaning female readers of this blog) read the book and then watch the movie. You will probably not be able to find it at a video store and will need Netflix or some such online DVD .


cindyMN said... daughter is in competitive Speech in HS. I wonder if this book would make a good prose category speech? what do you think??

Mary's List said...

I think this book is awesome but it has some difficult material that some people may find objectionable (that's what I would say to a parent such as yourself). She should read it and see what she thinks. There is some really funny lines about teachers, bullies at school etc.

liss n kids said...

Yay! You did review this movie! I think there are a lot of passages from this book that would make a really powerful speech team selection.

(And btw, many ya books are of this caliber...just to put in a little plug for reading more ya lit, even though we've had this conversation before!) :)

ellieiscool said...

I also thought it was amazing, difficult to watch though. I picked it up at the public library. Haven't read the book, on the summerlist.