Saturday, August 06, 2005

Speak

A few months ago on my way out the door, Meera pulled some books off her shelf with instructions to read them. Carver was one of them, and I've just now gotten around to reading the second, Speak.

The narrator is a 9th grader who has no friends because she called the cops on a party at the end of the summer. Pretty much everyone hates her for it, and she experiences a pretty classic depression, including not speaking to anyone.

It's hard to read because it's so well-written. It put me in the mind of this depressed 14-year-old, and I knew I had to get through it fast or I too would be consumed by the depression.

My only gripe is this: Melinda has a good reason to be depressed. She was raped at that party, and her memories of it are haunting her. Added to that is the fact that all her former friends now hate her. So it's perfectly logical for her to be depressed. But I think a lot of the time, teenage depression is not logical. There isn't a particular incident that brings it on, it just happens, and that's why it's so confusing. There's no tangible reason for it. It's still agony, and it's still lonely, and it still dissatisfying. You're still unhappy with your life, and not only do you not know how to handle it, but you don't have the impetus to handle it. You know something is wrong, but you don't know what.

I think it's unfortunate that this book doesn't do two things:
1) Deal with the illogical teenage depression.
2) Show that Melinda isn't the only person in her school who is depressed. It would only take a few pages. All she'd have to do was notice someone sitting in a corner and recognize something familiar in her. They don't have to be friends. In fact, it's better that they don't approach each other, because they're both too wrapped up in themselves to make an effort.

1 comment:

  1. Great book -- Catalyst, by the same author, is also good.

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