Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hello everyone, for this book review I read Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. Many of you might know her widely acclaimed novel Speak, and this memoir/book of poems is its companion, recounting stories of her upbringing and past, as well as important topics such as sexual abuse and rape culture.

Shout explores a difficult and possibly uncomfortable topic, but it’s an important one. Stigma still surrounds rape and sexual abuse victims today, and normalizing the discussion of these topics in a serious and respectful manner is a step toward progress and a more open minded society. And this memoir does just that. I admire the author so much for sharing her story, and I appreciate how different and eye-opening this novel is- there is no glorified, rosy depiction of growing up, but a powerful story of struggle, pain, and resilience. While these experiences are not universal, this memoir really imparts that for some people, these tragedies, struggles, and trauma that we often only read or hear about is their reality. And this book is for those people especially- the author writes “for the kids the world doesn’t want to see," creating a story and a sense of solidarity with those who need it the most.

It was also fascinating reading the events of the author's childhood and teenage years- she didn’t grow up too far from where I live, and the 1970s doesn’t seem like that long ago, but society then seems so different, at least in my perspective. It’s pretty interesting since we recently studied the 1970s in U.S. History, and many of the events- the Watergate scandal, the Three Mile Island accident, etc.- are referenced. Experiences from her adulthood are also described, and it really imparts how many years it has been and how far society, education, and attitudes have progressed, but also how so much still needs to be done.

Shout expresses an important message- of solidarity, surviving, and advocating for oneself- that is especially relevant today, and is an emotionally moving and powerful memoir that everyone would benefit from reading. Anderson's first novel, Speak, has reached and helped countless readers throughout the years and I have no doubt that Shout will do the same.


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