Parents, Please Read It; Don't Ban It
Written: Sep 29, 2009
a Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:The story is important and engrossing; the characters seem very real.
Cons:None for the recommended age group, which is 13 and up.
The Bottom Line: Pardon the pun, the story speaks to high school students - girls, at least - and there's truly nothing in the text a reasonable parent could object to.
Speak was first published in 1999. And it's still quite relevant, to teenagers and their parents.
Because the kids who were three or four when the book came out are now teenagers, there are parents of teenagers just figuring out what-in-the-world it means to be a parent of a teenager.
(Someone please let me know when you figure it out.)
I think the secret is out: Speak is about date rape; or just plain rape. That is NOT a reason to ban the book or forbid your kid to read it. The sexual act is described exactly once, in PG-rated language, three-quarters of the way through the book.
The vast majority of the book, told in first-person by a miserable high school freshman, brings to life the awfulness, the hopefulness, the intellectual curiosity, and the utter boredom that is high school. And it's all quite real because high school life is the canvas on which the author paints with the blood sweat and tears of teenage emotion.
To parents, I say "read Speak" because it will surely help you have a little more compassion for your teenager. Who amongst us would ever want to return to high school?
And if your kid is reading Speak, I say "just let them read it." And listen when they want to "speak" about it.
For those who are still hung-up on the date rape thing, I say "get over it." The book ends on a very positive note, about high school in general and the main character in particular.
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