Shout – Review

Shout – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Publication date: March 12th 2019

Pages: 304

Price: $19.18 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“Finding my courage to speak up twenty-five years after I was raped, writing Speak, and talking with countless survivors of sexual violence made me who I am today.”

Review

Laurie Halse Anderson has been one of my favorite authors for quite some time now. I first landed upon Speak, at a used book sale and I’ve read it twice since. Her writing give me chills and delineates hurt and redemption all at once. Her stories are meticulously crafted, fictional, yet underlined with so much truth. Since reading Speak, I have read Wintergirls, which is another blog post on it’s own, and Catalyst, all very powerful stories that have changed my perception of the world. I believe I first heard of Shout in January… not sure, but I just by the title that I was going to read this when it hit the shelves.

Speak has gotten lots of attention, being one of the most notoriously known YA novels published in the end of the twentieth century. A very controversial novel, read throughout schools but also one of the most banned/challenged for the decade after its release all the while racking multiple literary awards.

“the only thing that helped me breathe was opening a book”

Shout is another strong work of Anderson, except its no longer Melinda’s story. It’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s story through poetry. She explains her books, her story, her childhood, her lived injustice, others stories, through the form of poetry. Now, I am no master poetry reader, I like to read poetry from time to time, but it is not a frequent thing. Although, Shout is generally aiming for younger readers, I mean I found it in the YA section at Chapters and not the poetry section completely across the store. Being focused on younger readers somehow made me much more confortable reading this… I don’t know, I sometimes think that I’m not understanding the poetry I’m reading like I should but if Shout is for younger readers I should get it right?

I bought this book in April and I read it on that same day in April. Once again Anderson’s writing is so powerful! I was hooked! Hearing her stories and stories from other victims really opened up my mind to the atrocities and the injustice that so many women, and men, have to go through, and how it stays with you forever. I loved this book. I loved hearing others voices and how Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak and Wintergirls, but Shout was not a book for me. I read it and enjoyed it, but I’m happy to know that there are books as good as this one out there for people who really need it. For those who have gone through what Laurie or so many others have gone through and feel like they don’t have a voice. Such powerful words splayed on these sheets… I hope they help someone else shout too!

“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”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Final Review/Recommendation

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I give Shout four out of five stars because it was a super awesome read BUT personally I thought some of the poems where hard to understand. Maybe it was because I’ve never been in a similar situation. I also think that maybe writing poems was great but including a short story here and there might have been cool. But again, this book does touch some very challenging and personal subjects so detailing the scenarios more throughly might make it uncomfortable for some readers or the writer. This is just my opinion though! I am not really one to critique a book like this one because I in no way understand the agony and discomfort the author had to endure throughout those years and just the fact that she was brave enough to get up and speak about it through her books shows more power than anything I could ever do. What I’m saying is that Laurie Halse Anderson is a super powerful woman and we need more strong people like her in our world!

“This note about anatomy
from me to you
is for the remembering that
after you speak
after you shout
your open mouth
will breathe in the light
for which you’ve hungered
and your backbone will unfurl,
until you can again dance to the beat
of your steadfast heart.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

I think everyone should give Shout a try. Even if you are not a victim, knowing what others have gone through can help you to help those and to understand those who need someone there for them. It is also a very truthful and bold read that makes you reflect on our society and bring awareness to these sorts of situations that sadly happen everyday. If you have read any of Laurie Halse Andersen’s other books and enjoyed them, I also suggest you pick up Shout because she explains the inspiration behind her other stories and characters and what stories they are loosely based off of. I thought, as a person who has read her other books before, that this was really cool to see the provenance of her novels.

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“Shame, turned inside out, is rage.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Let me know what you thought of Shout, Speak, Wintergirls, or my review! Have a great week!

-Emma 😉