SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson makes me feel heard even though it is her voice that is speaking. I’ve always been too afraid to read Speak and told myself next time I saw it at the library I would grab it, but apparently I don’t actually know how to read because I grabbed Shout instead.

I have read and reread the Impossible Knife of Memory because Hayley was written in a way that made her feel real and alive. Like it was my own memories speaking. In high school, I stared at Anderson’s books on the shelves too afraid to read another because her story sounded like my story and I was scared to see where it went. I’m glad I waited because of the perspective I have now but at the same time, I know her words would’ve meant so much more to 15 or 16-year-old me, starving to be understood.

Speak, the book I had intended to read is fictional. SHOUT the book I actually picked up is her memoir, told in poems. It’s heartbreaking and eye-opening and these are the things we should read in school to take the place of our endless useless cyberbullying and antidrug assemblies. Something practical but tactful and artistic. Something beautiful but devastating. Something that makes people feel heard. Something that teaches us to first speak and then to SHOUT.


My take away as a poem:

You own You

Not your past.

Not your future.

Not him, or her, or them

You are yours. Right Now.

Have you read this book? Drop a comment below with what you thought!

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