Speak: The Graphic Novel
Booklist Reviews 2018 January #1
*Starred Review* Anderson's searing debut novel, Speak (1999), about Melinda, a high-school freshman dealing with the traumatic aftermath of rape, is filled with deep feeling, empowering triumph, and moments of startling horror. Not only is Melinda trying to forget her rape—a challenge when her rapist freely wanders the halls of their school—she's flailing in her classes and an outcast among her peers, until an art-class assignment and some slow-building friendships give her the courage to speak up. Carroll, well-known for her horror comics, does an excellent job of bringing the vignettes of Anderson's novel to the graphic format. In fine-lined grayscale artwork, Carroll powerfully evokes moods with creeping, smudgy shadows; faces with missing eyes and mouths; and jagged panel borders. Grasping hands reach down from tree branches until trees and hands are tumbled together in a juddering haystack of overlapping lines. Those moments are striking, but they're even more striking when set against scenes of Melinda's quiet, isolated day-to-day reality, as well as her gradual growth and steps toward recovery. Carroll strikes a deft balance, gracefully juggling the acute terror of Melinda's rape, the pernicious paranoia that follows her in its wake, the swirling rumors and bullying surrounding her, and glimmering moments of hope and comfort. With spellbinding artwork, this exceptional adaptation masterfully does justice to its source material while adding new depth and nuance. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall
A new graphic-novel adaptation of Anderson's Speak--a powerful narrative of a high school freshman's year of self-preservation after a brutal sexual assault. Artist Carroll starkly renders protagonist Melinda's pain and healing in black and white, expertly deploying visual perspective and tension to sharpen the emotional impact. A tumultuous first-person narration juxtaposed with the third-person visual perspective offers a new way to experience Melinda's story. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #3
In this new graphic novel adaptation of Anderson's Speak (rev. 9/99)—a powerful narrative of a high school freshman's year of self-preservation after a brutal sexual assault—artist Carroll starkly renders protagonist Melinda's pain and healing in black and white, expertly deploying visual perspective and tension to sharpen the emotional impact. As she withdraws further and further under the strain of coping with her classmates' cruelty and the terror of crossing paths with the senior who raped her at a party, silence becomes sanctuary. Art becomes a means of expression for her, making the graphic novel format especially resonant with the original theme. Much remains the same narratively as Melinda moves through a world and relationships that cannot be as they were but that still offer tentative hope. The addition of smartphones and social media provides some modern window dressing, and the juxtaposition of a tumultuous first-person narration with the third-person visual perspective will give even longtime devotees a new way to experience Melinda's story. anastasia m. Collins Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.