You Speak Loudly & I Love Mick Foley

Yesterday, my publisher decided to speak loudly about the MO banning attempt by taking out a full-page ad in the main section of the New York Times. My dad bought nearly every copy of the Times in Oswego County and cheerfully distributed them all day to friends, strangers, and everyone in between, pointing out this page:

Am I feeling totally supported, affirmed, appreciated, and loved right now? Yep! It is so exciting to see a publisher take such a strong stand supporting a book and its readers. Thank you, Uncle Penguin!

I still have not been able to discover the status of the three challenged books in Republic, MO. Have they officially been removed from the classroom? There are conflicting stories about this. When will the school board make a statement? Do you know?

Edited to add: I have written to Republic Superintendent Vern Minor asking for an update on the status of the books. He has not responded.

Students of the English Society at Missouri State University have spoken loudly. On Wednesday, the local TV station covered them writing quotes from banned books in chalk in front of the building where Wes Scroggins teaches.


Yesterday they read from Speak in front of his building, too. (photo credit: Gemma Bellhouse)

Thank you, good citizens of the English Society!



Missouri State officials told the local newspaper that Wes Scroggins, like all Americans, is entitled to his opinions and has the right to express them. The university told him, however, to stop using university resources, like his campus email account and office computer, for political candidates or positions.

The Guardian newspaper in England is covering Scroggins’ censorship attempt and highlighted the very moving blog post written by UK childrens’ author Lucy Coats, who, after 40 years of silence, spoke loudly about being sexually assaulted. And a French blogger spoke up about the whole mess. In French.

I have been spending hours every day reading blog posts and emails from Speak readers. I thank all of you for your support of the book, the First Amendment, and for telling your own stories about finding the courage to break the silence after being sexually assaulted. We are beginning to dissolve the shame and stigma that too many victims have traditionally felt. When victims speak loudly, the criminals who attacked them can no longer hide.

This has a lot to do with why I now love Mick Foley.





Yeah, this Mick Foley, The Hardcore Legend. Professional wrestler and wonderful author.



Why? First of all, he is a huge Tori Amos fan, just like me. (If I ever get to meet her, I will squee and fangrrl as badly as I do when I am in the same room as Judy Blume.) Through his connection to Tori, Mick became involved in RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network that she founded). He volunteers weekly for the RAINN hotline. In fact, he has joined RAINN’s National Leadership Council and taken on the fight against sexual violence. Mick donated half of his advance for his new book, COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN, to RAINN. The other half was donated to ChildFund International to set up microloans and scholarships for victims of rape and their children in Sierra Leone.

Buy Mick’s book!!

I need to say thank you, also, for all the warm wishes that poured in after I posted about Thor, our new rescue dog. A few folks suggested that he might be a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, which I had never heard of. He goes to the vet this afternoon, so maybe we’ll learn more about him then.

Thor speaks loudly, too.

14 Replies to “You Speak Loudly & I Love Mick Foley”

  1. Thor has excellent taste, no matter what breed or mix thereof he turns out to be!

    Laurie, you know I’ve always said that if books like SPEAK and Crutcher’s CHINESE HANDCUFFS had been available when I was a young girl, my life as an abuse survivor would have been a lot easier. I would have known I wasn’t alone, that there were people out there that cared and who would listen when I told. All things that the people in my life at the time refused to do. Silence is the enemy. Silence allows the abusers to flourish. And people like Scroggins and his wrong-headed censorship only further enable and protect the criminals.

    I’ve added my voice to the SpeakLoudly cry at .

    As always, proud to have the honor of calling you my friend.

  2. I just wanted to take a moment to, first of all, thank you SO MUCH for writing SPEAK. Your book has played an integral role in allowing me to move beyond my own personal experience with sexual assault. I was raped when I was 17 and if not for SPEAK and other books like it, I don’t know that I would be alive and writing to you today. Your book, and the overwhelming response to its threatened censoring, has given me the courage to finally find my voice.
    I have taken what I feel to be is a huge step in outing myself as a sexual assault survivor in my most recent blog post. If you’d like to read it, it’s available at Even if you don’t have time to look it over, I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate what you have done. You are an amazing woman and an amazing writer. Thank you so much for writing about something most of us can’t even talk about and for standing up for your book in the face of would-be censors.
    I hope that one day this battle won’t be necessary.
    Until then, I’m in it with you.
    Take care,

  3. Is it wrong of me to get a little teary eyed that they read SPEAK ALOUD in front of this guy’s building?????

    Probably. But I don’t care.

    I hope you feel AWESOMELY affirmed, Laurie. Congratulations for never backing down.

  4. I started the Banned Book Literary Club in Southwest Missouri to help give people an avenue to discuss these books. I graduated from Republic High School. My best friend first read speak when she was 13 at the recommendation of her middle school teacher!

    I have the meeting room booked at the Republic Branch Library for (almost) every last Thursday of the month until next summer (when I will most definitely book more dates). Our book club pick this month is Slaughterhouse-Five. We’ll move on from there to do your book and Twenty Boy Summer. I don’t intend to stop after that…

    We’re hoping we can do some good and give a positive voice to Republic instead of the ignorant one it has been accredited with lately.

    You are amazing! We love you!!!!

  5. We had such a blast reading Speak aloud! We were there for about 3 hours, and we got through the majority of the book. A lot of people showed up, and we had quite a few tell us that they thought what we were doing was awesome.

    P.S. Now I need to have my fan-girl moment. I’m in a picture on Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog! Eeek! 😀 Lol.

  6. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the Mass Board of Education is speaking loudly as well (in its own way)! I’m taking the practice exam for the English portion of the MTEL (like you do at 1am!) and an excerpt from Speak is used as an example for two of the questions! I thought it was perfect that besides Speak being an important book in its own right, it’s considered important enough to be included in the materials used to prepare and evaluate future educators. Cheers!

  7. Pingback: Speak | Bookwitch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.