19 September 2010

Silencing Speak?

Mood: Irritated (banned and challenged books do that to me)

On Tv: COPS (hoping to see someone tazed - sweet, I swear, someone totally just got tazed!)

I have never read this book:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a book for young adults that deals with very real but very difficult and uncomfortable young adult topics. Like drinking. Like parties. Like Rape. Like a young woman who feels she has to remain silent about what has happened to her. In other words, it contains uncomfortable and difficult young adult topics faced by nearly every teenager at every high school in America today. 

Unfortunately, this has prompted some dissent from people  like Wesley Scroggins. Who has decided to protest its inclusion in school curriculum (certainly his right) but he protests its inclusion by calling it "filthy" and "soft core porn" and then calling into question the Christian morality of the school board, teachers and parents that allow such immoral reading material to be put into the hands of our nation's teenagers. 

Really? Really Mr. Scroggins? First, rape is not porn. It's a horrible act of violence. And it happens whether someone is moral or not. Whether they're Christian or not. And when it happens it leaves the victim feeling alone, broken, traumatized and terrified. Just like the character in the book. And just like the character in the book so many of those who are victimized will be afraid and embarrassed and, because of that, they will choose to live with their shame instead of allowing the shame to rest where it should - with the perpetrator of the crime. 

Uncomfortable or not, these are issues we need to discuss with our young people and, whether you use it as a talking point with your teen or if they see themselves in the book and feel empowered enough by it to come to you, books like Speak can be an incredibly effective way to open that oftentimes difficult path of parent - teen communication. 

While I strongly acknowledge a parent's right and responsibility to monitor their children's reading material for content and age appropriateness, no one has the right to decide what I will and will not allow my children to read nor what I will read myself.  

So, I said at the beginning of this post that I have never read Speak. However, I will. And if I don't like it? I will opt not to read it again. If I don't think it's appropriate for teens? I won't allow teens in my care to read it. But if you want your teen to read it because you think it will be a powerful teaching tool? I will give you my copy! 



  1. So well said, Rhonda!!! Why didn't you post a link to this? I'd add it to my own post, but every time I try to chance a post after I've published it, it screws up my formatting big time. It's annoying.

    Anyway, you are so right. It's so creepy the way he's chosen to view things. What is wrong with him?

  2. LK: Thanks so much! :)

    Carolina: I didn't think about posting a link. Doh! I don't know what's wrong with his thinking but he seriously needs to reevaluate his thought process!

    P.S. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has issues with blog post formatting. So annoying!


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