Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.
When he was eighteen years old, my father saw his buddy’s head sliced into two pieces, sawn just above the eyebrows by an exploding brake drum, when he was in the middle of telling a joke.
I do not even know where to begin. This book was that special and hit close to home in more ways than I was expecting.
Shout is a memoir that I would shelve right beside Hunger by Roxane Gay. They are both deeply raw and personal and shine a much needed light on the effects of sexual violence. What makes Shout so incredible is that it is classified as YA. We need more books like this written for and made accessible to teens.
I have cherished Anderson’s novel Speak since I was a teenager, and after reading Shout, I have come to appreciate it even more. Hearing how personal Speak was to the author, and how the book came to be in the first place added new depths to the story. I loved that in Shout she talked about all of the backlash she faced trying to get Speak in to the hands of young readers who needed it. Speak is one of those books that is often banned in schools and faces a lot of censorship, which is infuriating. I also appreciated that Anderson takes the time to point out that it is not just young girls who see themselves in Speak, but young boys as well.
Shout is written in verse, and I found that telling her personal story that way was very effective. It somehow added to the emotional and inspirational feelings that the book evokes. It was just so well done! There were some passages that hit me in the gut and will stick with me for years to come. **I will be sharing some quotes from Shout in tomorrow’s post**
Yes, with caution because I know it will be triggering for some. That said, I think many people will feel seen and heard by Shout, in the same way that they did by Speak.
Have you read Shout or Speak? I would love to know your thoughts on either or both books?
Do you have any favourite YA memoirs? I need to read more!