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  • Writer's pictureRachel McCarty

National Read A Book Day 2020

Sunday September 6th was National Read a Book Day. As a lover of books and reading, I decided to read a book. Since it was also National Suicide Prevention Week, I chose Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Speak is about a young girl who is raped at the end of eighth grade, and her reaction during the following school year. It was easy to read in a day and it was well written, thoughtfully handling a difficult subject.

Here are some lines from the book that I related to.

I am Outcast. This reminds me of an illustration in the book I’m writing about my depression. The illustration is about how a small spot on an apple can lead the entire apple to decay. The point of the illustration, and the working title of my book, is that I am decay.

It is easier not to say anything. And nobody really wants to hear what you have to say. Sometimes it feels like it really is easier not to say anything about your depression or other mental health issues because people tend to make it about themselves. I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with that. There is also the regret felt after sharing something so personal. As much as we want to share our thoughts and feelings, it is also really scary to be that vulnerable. And then there is the reality that, even when people ask how you are, they don’t actually want to know. ‘How are you’ is more of a social nicety, in most cases, than an actual question. There were a few more lines related to the two above: That’s what you get for speaking up. And I don’t say anything and I feel awful. I tell somebody and I feel worse. I’m having trouble finding a middle ground.

Friend as accessory. Just so I don’t feel and look so stupid. This is what I refer to as a ‘buffer.’ I only have a handful of preferred buffers, but anyone or anything (the kitchen, an animal) will do in a pinch.

I have never heard a more eloquent silence. I just really liked the sound of this line.

I just want anyone to like me. Sometimes that ‘anyone’ is really bad for you, but when you feel like no one could ever like you, it’s hard to walk away.

If he touches me I’ll explode. No touching. And I feel like my skin has been burned off. Thanks to trauma I’ve experienced, I really don’t like being touched by most people, especially males. When I am touched by a male that I’m not comfortable with, my skin almost hurts, as if my skin has been burned off and the raw flesh underneath is being touched.

I just need to hang on. Basically this is what I tell myself every day, even though it gets harder and harder.

Young men ask…why Melinda was so upset about being raped. This is from an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson at the end of the book. She said she gets asked this question by a lot of young men. I am appalled at this question. Laurie, explains that many young men are not being taught the impact that sexual assault has on a woman, but I don’t believe that’s an excuse. They know what rape is, correct? That should be enough to understand why it might be upsetting to someone that is raped. Just…I don’t get it…

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I would recommend it to anyone. Period. Anyone.

If you’re dealing with mental health issues, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts, please know you are not alone and there is help out there.

Rape, Abuse & Incest Nation Network:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:


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