Posted in Book Reviews

Shout, shout, let it all out

(This Tears for Fears song played in my head every time I picked up this book.)

It’s Tuesday night, and I have just finished Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. Many years ago, when I was still teaching high school, one of my administrators handed me the book Speak and said I had to read it. If you haven’t read Speak, you need to. Reading Shout the past couple weeks has made me want to re-read Speak and then find everything else Anderson has written and add them all to my must-read lists.

Shout is written in verse, and I thought, like all the other books I have read in verse, that I would finish this one within a day. However, this book was heavy and made me stop to think, and grieve. A lot of the book is autobiographical, reflective, and encouraging. There are some parts that are condemning to those who inflict pain. And then other parts that are more lessons or advice.

I love how Anderson uses words. There were many times when I stopped and paused after reading a particularly beautiful phrase. She was able to convey pretty much every emotion.

This was one of the first books that I’ve purchased since The Hate U Give, and I found myself having to underline numerous passages. I took pictures of pages and shared with my friends and husband. One of my co-teachers and I have decided to use one particular passage to help as we teach the writing process.

There is some language, some descriptive “adult” material, and some hard topics presented in this book. If you’re sensitive to things like that, beware. But as a mother to daughters and frankly, as a woman, I think it is important to know each others’ stories however colorful they are.

Some passages I enjoyed

untreated pain/is a cancer of the soul/that can kill you

But recessionals play in a minor key;/the princess pricked her finger on a spindle,/was shattered by mirrors, cursed by fairies,/banished from the kingdom, and hunted/down by dogs. Trolls hide under bridges/and that’s where she died.

Some people grow up knowing what they want/to do: they color inside the lines,/study at the right school,/check off the boxes, and/ in the end/ they are handed the grown-up life/they’ve dreamed of. That’s mostly bullshit, for the record.

too many grown-ups tell kids to follow/their dreams/like that’s going to get them somewhere/Auntie Laurie says follow your nightmares instead/cuz when you figure out what’s eating you alive/you can slay it

We should teach our girls/that snapping is OK,/instead of waiting/for someone else to break them.