Wait wait wait, back up – Speak was published 20 years ago? Seriously? It’s hard to believe I was only nine when that book was published. Geez.
Anyway. I don’t really read memoirs that often (or nonfiction), but this book was one that I had my eye on since I heard about it a while ago. It was actually one of the books that I picked for my Book of the Month club choices. I had just finished reading Wintergirls, so for me it was a no-brainer that this would be one of the books I would pick for March. I was so excited when the book got to me, and I started reading it right away.
For anyone who has read Speak (and for those who have not), Shout is a really powerful and moving memoir that is bound to cause a lot of mixed emotions. I thought there were some funny parts, some sad parts, and there were parts that made me incredibly angry.
“This is the story of a girl who lost her voice and wrote herself a new one.”
Shout tells the story of a girl who has grown up to become a bestselling author – an author of one of the most influential, powerful young adult novels of all time. In fact, it’s the kind of book that, upon hearing “Young Adult books” come up in conversation, you can’t help but automatically think of. But you have to wonder – what’s the story behind the woman who wrote that book? What drove her to write it?
This is your chance to find out. This is your chance to really get to know the author of so many bestselling novels, and on a deeply personal level. This is the author of those novels, spilling her heart out, poetry-style, full of all the pain and untold stories, full of wisdom, knowledge, and courage – this is her story.
“Pain won’t be contained
by bars or marks
your scars deserve attention, too.”
Shout is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. It is what you expect it to be, only it’s not – it’s better. It’s raw. It’s the kind of book you’ll want to finish in a single sitting; a book that cannot be put down until the very last page, which at that point you will find yourself turning it over in your hands, flipping the cover open, and rereading it, just to feel all the author’s words wash over you again, digging deeper into her beautifully written prose.
I really enjoyed Shout. I think this is the kind of book that is the perfect read after Speak, but to be honest, even if you haven’t read Speak, this is a book that you can really enjoy, as well.
I love that this book is written in free-verse poetry for most of it. Every poem has its own title, and every one of them tells its own story. Some of these stories are heartbreaking, while others are inspiring. It’s such a personal novel, a surefire way to really get to know the author through her experiences. For example, I found it utterly fascinating that she traveled abroad for over a year, living on a farm and learning Dutch. Many of them are about her family, her experiences (those both good and bad), and about her achievements – all of which make her who she is today.
I’m trying not to give too much about Shout away, because it’s the kind of book you just have to read. If you’re a lover or YA, or if you’ve never read a YA book in your life, you really shouldn’t pass this one up. There’s so much here, an entire lifetime filled with experiences and stories, all told in a beautiful fashion that will have you gaining a newfound appreciation for life.