—With the exception of the first and last stanzas, all the words in this poem come from letters or emails from Laurie’s readers—


You write to us
from Houston, Brooklyn, Peoria,
Rye, NY,
LA, DC, Everyanywhere USA to
 my mailbox, My
Space Face
A livejournal of bffs whispering
Onehundredthousand whispers to
Melinda and

I was raped, too
sexually assaulted in seventh
tenth grade, the summer after
at a party
i was 16
i was 14
i was 5 and he did it for three
i loved him
i didn’t even know him.
He was my best friend’s brother,
my grandfather, father, mommy’s
my date
my cousin
my coach
i met him for the first time that
night and —
four guys took turns, and  —
i’m a boy and this happened to
 me, and  —

… I got pregnant I gave up my
daughter for adoption …
did it happen to you, too?
U 2?

i wasn’t raped, but
my dad drinks, but
i hate talking, but
my brother was shot, but
i am outcast, but
my parents split up, but
i am clanless, but
we lost our house, but
i have secrets – seven years of secrets
and i cut
myself my friends cut
we all cut cut cut
to let out the pain

… my 5-year-old cousin was
raped –
he’s beginning to act out now …
do you have suicidal thoughts?
do you want to kill him?

Melinda is a lot like this girl I
No she’s a lot like
i am MelindaSarah
i am MelindaRogelio i am MelindaMegan, MelindaAmberMelindaStephenTori
it keeps hurting, but
this book cracked my shell
it keeps hurting I hurt, but
but your book cracked my shell.

I cried when I read it.
I laughed when I read it
is that dumb?
I sat with the girl —
you know,  that girl —
I sat with her because nobody sits with
her at lunch
and I’m a cheerleader, so there.

speak changed my life
cracked my shell
made me think
about parties
gave me
wings this book
opened my mouth
i whispered, cried
rolled up my sleeves i
hate talking but
I am trying.

You made me remember who I

P.S. Our class is gonna analyze this thing to death.

Me: weeping

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  • Join the Forest!

    Join the Forest!

  • Speak Playlist

    Speak Playlist

    1. Tori Amos "Silent all these years"
    2. Tori Amos "Girl Disappearing"
    3. Tori Amos "Crucify"
    4. R.E.M. "Try not to Breathe"
    5. Patty Griffin "Be Careful"
    6. Indigo Girls "Kid Fears"
    7. Indigo Girls "The Girl With the Weight of the World in Her Hands"
    8. Avril Lavigne "Nobody's Home"
    9. Blind Melon "No Rain"
    10. Dave Matthews Band "Cry Freedom"
    11. Goo Goo Dolls "No One Is Listening"
    12. Goo Goo Dolls "Black Balloon"
    13. Imogen Heap "The Moment I Said It"
    14. Imogen Heap "Getting Scared"
    15. Imogen Heap "Hide And Seek"
    16. No Doubt "Don't Speak"
    17. Nothingness "Drowning Pool"
    18. Oingo Boingo "Weird Science"
    19. Pearl Jam "Fade Away"
    20. Seether "Tongue"
    21. Three Days Grace "Never Too Late"
    22. White Stripes "As Ugly As I Seem"

  • Speak Questions

    Speak Questions

    Please note: There is a 9-page interview with me in the back of the platinum (paperback) edition of SPEAK. Most questions about the book are answered there. Below are a few extras.

    Can you post the query letter that eventually led to the publication of Speak?

    I don't have it anymore. (I submitted SPEAK in 1997 and have moved three times since then.) My query letters tended to be very short: A paragraph with a one- or two sentence summary of the book, a paragraph that briefly detailed my writing qualifications, and a paragraph that said thank you for considering my work.

    BTW: SPEAK was plucked from the slush pile. I sold my first four picture books, my series, two novels, and a couple of work-for-hire jobs without an agent.

    How many copies of SPEAK have been sold in the US?

    Nearly two million.

    Do you think that SPEAK has made a difference?

    Absolutely. But it wasn’t the book. The readers of SPEAK changed our world.

    Many of them came away from the book with a new understanding of sexual assault and depression. They dug deep and found the courage to speak up about their own pain. They reached out and asked for help. They spoke up.

    The teachers and administrators who were smart and bold enough to put a contemporary piece of literature into the classroom are changing the world, too. They put the book where it could open minds and hearts.

    SPEAK is great example of the power of Story.

    What did you think of the SPEAK movie?

    I liked it. I especially liked my part. I play the rather attractive lunch lady who serves mashed potatoes to Melinda on the first day of school.

    Is SPEAK a memoir or an autobiography?

    Neither. It is fiction. Parts of Melinda’s emotional journey reflect what I went through in high school, but I made most of it up.

    When are you going to write a sequel? What happens to Melinda???

    Here's the thing...

  • Speak Links

    Speak Links

    Know someone who is struggling with depression?

    Great Things About Central New York (we have more than snow and basketball)

  • Speak – Teacher’s Section

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