One of my library friends passed this on to me not long ago, suspecting that I might appreciate both the language and the art of it. Many of us have revisited long-set-aside incidents in the wake of the #metoo movement, either in quiet moments on our own or while chatting with our previously labeled “feminazi” friends. Now we are part of something bigger, right?
I started reading this new graphic novel version of Speak just a day or two after getting O:the Oprah Magazine’s March 2018 issue. (I don’t read a lot of magazines these days, but once in a while, I’ve been known to splurge on a magazine subscription. My $5 is paying off big-time now, too!) If you have time to seek it out, take some time to appreciate the #USTOO art on page 105. It is painful to read, but most women I know can relate to multiple incidents on it. Key to what it and some of the pieces accompanying it relate is the fact that change will not come from silence. We are not alone, but if we keep things quiet, we feel like we are, and things don’t change.
Melinda feels like she’s alone, despised, ignored, and so many other adjectives. Her story – being raped at an end-of-summer party by a popular predator – comes out over the course of her freshman year. The art in this version is brilliant, highlighting and connecting the words and story with images that make you feel it all the more intensely. Can she see the people who would help her? Can she trust the people who are supposed to be supporting her?
This moment is the perfect one for this book – one more opportunity to start some tough conversations with young people, as well as our friends, partners, families.
Speak: the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll