I’m positively outraged about this latest censorship attempt against Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Dr. Wesley Scroggins of Republic, MO wrote an article explaining concerns he has about books included in the Republic Schools’ curriculum. One such book is Speak. Scroggins believes that parents need to be aware and request that Speak is removed from the curriculum because
“In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.”
What?! Mr. Scroggins, did you even read this book? How can you possibly write the words “soft pornography” only lines before mentioning that the main character is raped? I’m absolutely disgusted by this misrepresentation of such an important novel. Melinda did not want to have sex. Melinda did not enjoy what happened to her. Melinda was RAPED.
I’ve mentioned before in other posts that I first read Speak in my college Young Adult Literature class. Speak is the reason I love young adult literature. During my first year of teaching I decided to read it out loud to my classes; my students LOVED it. That was three years ago. One of my students that year, a freshmen and now a senior, has a younger sister who is in my freshmen English class right now. Guess what she’s reading! My student from three years ago remembered me reading it out loud, enjoyed it and told her sister to read it. Not only that, but we’ve included Speak in our curriculum. Students that NEVER read have become readers thanks to this book. Students identify with it, whether they’ve been a victim or they feel like the outcast at school.
Laurie Halse Anderson should only be hearing praises for her novel, not the ignorant ramblings of a man who couldn’t possibly have read Speak. Please don’t allow Mr. Scroggins’ article to negatively influence any more people in Republic, MO. Go to Laurie Halse Anderson’s post about this so you can learn how to spread POSITIVE experiences and praises for Speak. If you’re on Twitter you can post your support by including #SpeakLoudly to your tweet.