Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 12.49.29 PMIn 8th grade, I read this book titled Speak. Speak was written by Laurie Halse Anderson and was published in 1999. It was a story of a girl named Melinda Sordino. The book takes place in Syracuse, NY, and it’s the summer before Melinda’s freshman year of high school. Melindawas very much in the “popular crowd” in school. She had many friends until she got herself into a traumatic situation at a party. Melinda was raped at this party by a senior named Andy Evans who Melinda constantly refers to in the book as IT. Melinda called the cops but did not tell them she was raped. The cops came to the party and got all of her friends in trouble, so therefore she was exiled from her group of friends. Melinda spirals down into a deep depression throughout her freshman year. The story unfolds with  It isn’t until she reaches an all-time low that Melinda is able to speak up and fight for her rights. Once she speaks up, her life starts to make a complete turn around.

I read this fiction book in 8th grade for a reading assignment. My teacher gave everyone in the class their own copy. I’m glad we read this book as a class because our class discussions about the book were extremely intriguing. The author used a lot of symbolism to show the underlying meaning of the story. In the end, I learned a lot of meaningful lessons I continue to think about in my life today.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from this book is to always stand up for what you believe in. Melinda kept quiet about this horrible situation for so long, and it made her life a living hell. If Melinda came out with this huge secret earlier, her freshman year would’ve gone much differently. I’ve learned that no situation is too hard to overcome. Melinda was completely traumatized, yet she was able to find the strength in herself to stand up for what was right. At one point Melinda wasn’t able to speak about the unbearable pain she was going through. But eventually, she found the courage and power in herself to move on and continue a normal life.

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 12.50.38 PMThere has been many times in my life where I was the only one standing up for the right thing. I can remember in 9th grade, a boy in my english class kept making rude comments about my religion. Although the situation was very different from Melinda’s, I was still about to the find strength in my that she found in herself. I don’t tolerate being made fun of for something I am so proud of. My religion is a big part of who I am. And like Melinda, I wasn’t going to let anyone belittle me.

I think this book has such a strong impact on me because I feel that this is a great lesson to learn. Finding courage and confidence in yourself is very empowering. I’ve always been taught that you should stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone. This is a lesson I will carry throughout my life and it’s a lesson I hope to instill in my children one day.


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