The shoes are for dancing not for running away (queenofcups) wrote in bookish,
The shoes are for dancing not for running away

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and a request

In “Speak” by Laurie halse Anderson, Melinda is beginning her freshman year as an outcast, nearly mute and friendless. Everyone is against her, from her own parents, to her social studies teacher, whom she calls Mr. Neck, to her former best friends. It is gradually revealed that basically the whole school hates her because she called the cops during a party at the end of the summer. The only person who will sit with her or talk to her is an overly cheerful, peppy girl named Heather, who is new and so has no friends of her own, but who eventually tires of Melinda’s depression, calls her a freak and abandons her for a clique that doesn’t even really like her. And the only person who seems genuinely interested in Melinda’s feelings is her slightly eccentric art teacher, whose year-long project is a large part of what helps her to heal from what happened to her at the party, the reason which no one is interested in hearing for why she actually called the cops. Throughout the course of the book, she spirals deeper and deeper into her depression, retreating even farther into herself, skipping whole days of classes and biting her lips until they bleed and not bathing properly, but the end is ultimately hopeful as she confronts her fear and begins to learn ways to overcome it.

I read this book last week, but haven’t posted about it because I wasn’t sure if I should. I do not really like writing negative reviews. But I am, it seems, the only person on the Internet who did not enjoy this book. It was a good way to waste a couple of hours, but it did not move me in any great way, the characters did not engage me at all, and the writing was just ordinary. There were moments when I felt like it could rise above its blandness, but it never quite did. And all the characters felt like caricatures to me, although I did enjoy Melinda’s tentative friendship with Ivy and the art teacher. I don’t know, perhaps the hype is to blame for my feelings of disappointment and being completely underwhelmed, because for years I have been hearing what a wonderful, emotional, insightful book this is and I just … didn’t feel it. At all. I am not really one for reading young adult books that are not written by Francesca Lia Block, so perhaps my general apathy toward the genre itself was part of the problem as well. All I know is that after I finished “Speak”, I felt nothing in particular. I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t enjoy it and most importantly, I was able to immediately dismiss it from my thoughts and it had no lasting impact. What I want most from books is to be left thinking and feeling long after the final page is turned. I did not get that here.

But, on a happier note, I absolutely loved "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson.

And the request: I have a huge amount of Patricia A. McKillip and I am excited to read, but I have no idea where to start. She has written so much! If you could tell me your favorite book by her and why it's your favorite, I would appreciate it very much.

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