speak loudly

Before I get started into the serious part of the post, I want to give a huge thanks to Rachel for our blog design, and for her patience with dealing with three different people and three different visions/tastes. Thank you, Rachel!

Have you all heard of the Speak Loudly controversy? Read Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog here for the background.

I’ve been thinking about this since I found out about it and wanting to say something profound about censorship and about this book in particular. But I don’t have much. Laurie has said it all, as well and as wonderfully as only she can say it. But I do want to do whatever I can to let people know about this and about this book, which is one of the reasons I started writing contemporary young adult fiction (something I have yet to do successfully–I have said before and will say again that I believe it is the most difficult genre to get right).

I remember when Jon Ostenson (a fellow teacher) came up to me at Timpview High School and said, “You have to read this,” and handed me Speak. It was my first year teaching, which is a special kind of hell (not because of the students, but because you are writing all the lessons from scratch and you haven’t learned to grade efficiently yet) and I was swamped, overwhelmed, covered in ninth grade research papers. But I stayed up almost all night and read that beautiful, harrowing book.

My father was a judge for many years. And he saw terrible, horrible things in the lovely little town where we lived. When he came home, sometimes the weight of the world was on his shoulders and the light was almost gone from his eyes. And he told us things he thought we should know. About what happens to girls everywhere, and why you have to be careful, and why a dark and dangerous boy is, contrary to popular belief, also dark and dangerous to you.

My dad wasn’t trying to scare us or cripple us.

He was just trying to tell us about the world we live in and what happens to the people who live in it. Because even if the pain isn’t yours, it could be. And as a human being, that should matter.

Speak tells you things about someone else’s pain. It tells you things about your own pain. And the catharsis and the beauty in the telling–that is something no one should be denied.

Banning books and censorship need to stop. Spread the word. Speak loudly.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “speak loudly

  1. Pingback: speak loudly || allyson condie

  2. I could go off on this. But all I will say is, I agree, this is ridiculous.

  3. It is a beautiful book. This situation is very disturbing.

  4. Kyra

    Speak is still one of my favorite YA novels. I’ve read it over and over. I hate people trying to ban books and I really hate people who think they can control what teens read. {hate. such a strong word. Really really dislike. . .}
    I’ve posted on this blog about that already so I won’t go into it.
    But, I agree. This whole thing is just pishposh and silly.

  5. I need Carol and Ann Dee to show me how to do that thing where I can respond to each comment.

    But Lucinda, Shari, Kyra–I am glad you agree. And Kyra, I hear you. I have read it over and over too.

  6. Camden

    Ally, I so agree with this post. Thanks for the good book recommendation. I just put it on hold at my library.

    I always have a good chuckle during banned book week but maybe, like you and your friend, I should be more vocal. Isn’t it our role as parents and leaders to teach principles and let our youth govern themselves? Not to completely remove ‘bad’ influences from them. One man or group of homogenous individuals shouldn’t have the ability to decide what books our kids have access to. Isn’t that the whole point of the FIRST Ammendment?

  7. Pingback: Hell Hath No Fury Like the Book Community Scorned « Reclusive Bibliophile

  8. Ms. Condie,
    I just finished reading Matched last night, and I can’t even express how much it resonated with me, how much I think it related to what is happening this week.

    I was deeply affected by the shock of knowing that Cassia is limited to knowing only a hundred stories. Something tells me that Speak isn’t one of them, based on what the Officials believe is best for the Society.

    But, wow. Only a hundred stories. Most avid readers read more than a hundred books in a year. To only have a hundred for your entire lifetime. How devastating!

    From the little bit you shared, I see some of your father in Cassia’s father. he seemed to carry a great weight on his shoulders as well.

    It is amazing to think that something that you have successfully and poignantly portrayed as fiction could actually be a reality if people don’t speak out about banning books.

    Thank you for this post, but most of all, thank you for Matched, which I believe contains a message similar to the one your father wanted to share with you. “Because even if the pain isn’t yours, it could be. And as a human being, that should matter.”

    • Missie, I’m thrilled that Matched resonated for you. And yes, I am pretty sure Speak would not be one of those titles. I also agree with you–I think I have put some of my dad in Cassia’s father. I really wanted to write a novel with “good” (but flawed) parents because I was lucky enough to have parents like that myself.

      Thank you for taking the time to read Matched and for your wonderful response.

      • I’ve been trying to keep up with every Speak related article or post I’ve seen. These people that are so adamant about keeping Speak (or books like Speak) out of schools really do remind me of the Officials. It’s scary! Nothing will change their minds. They really do believe that their children don’t need to know that such evils exist.

        Is it too early to start begging for Book 2? I can’t stop thinking about Ky. I’m so worried. After I posted my review I ran off to look for more reviews so I could discuss the book. I’m hooked!

        Thanks for responding my little comment. I had a thrilling fangirl moment! 😀

  9. Beautifully said, Ally. I’m so glad your dad had the courage to tell you the truth, to warn you and protect you in the best way he could–which incidentally, probably helped you to help others, too.
    I’m in full support of Speak. I hope other speak out, too.

  10. Pingback: Writing the Painful Truth « Kimberly Webb Reid

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