Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sounder by William Armstrong and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

So, the other day I got all the books that I have read and was not a big fan of together and off to the second hand store I went. This means that I no longer have these books handy, and I really did not like them, so they are not really fresh in my mind any longer. Sounder won a Newbery Award, and it was a cute book, but I just could not find the big attraction with it. It is likely more reflective of the time it was released in than anything. Not liking Speak surprised me because I had heard really good things about it. I just could not get into it at all, and I think part of it was the writing style.

So, I will just leave you with the book descriptions and you can make your own decisions about whether or not you want to read them.

Speak description:

The first ten lies they tell you in high school
"Speak up for yourself - we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows that this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and is is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In this powerful novel, an utterly believeable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.
I am wondering if this book did not work for me because I am not a teen anymore... not sure.

Description for Sounder:
A landmark in children's literature, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal, and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th century South. The boy's father is a sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one morning, almost like a miracle, a sweet-smelling ham is cooking in the family's kitchen. At last the family will have a good meal. But that night, an angry sheriff and deputies come, and the boy's life will never be the same.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed Speak. (In fact it's one of my favorites.) But reading is always subjective. :) And not every book is for every person.


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