I adore everything about Laurie Halse Anderson, from her kickass attitude to her uncompromising writing to her posts about weird Scandinavian breakfasts when she’s on vacation and fully embracing the hygge philosophy.
I absolutely loved her book SPEAK, and this more personal, more intense follow up, SHOUT, I loved even more.
SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Poetry
A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning 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.
I almost cried just from reading the dedication page.
“for the survivors.”
This book may hit a little close to home.
But then, we are all survivors, right? We’ve all survived some kind of hell. Not all of us are brave enough to explore it so thoroughly in our writing and put it on display for others to see, to share, to learn from.
I had no idea before I started reading this book that SPEAK was based on Anderson’s own experience of being raped as a teen. This book, SHOUT, is a response to SPEAK, and it talks a lot about what she went through at the time of her assault and how it shaped her life afterwards.
This should give you an idea of how that went:
“…too many grown-ups tell kids to follow
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”
Here’s another passage that stopped me in my tracks – probably because it was way too relatable to me.
“…the overlap of my stories and my life
is a garden courtyard, sky-strung with stars
and scars where planets were torn
from their orbits
the courtyard where that stump grows
is surrounded by stone walls
three miles high, carved
with thousands of locked doors
and secrets that bloom open
in the moonlight”
Ouch. Ouch. OUCH.
But don’t get me wrong, this book is not all sadness and pain. There is definitely hope and strength and joy.
I absolutely loved this poem called “yes, please”. I think it should be distributed far and wide to all, especially those confused about consent.
sounds like heaven falling from the sky
yes smells like hot, hot
sweet apple pie
yes dances hip to hip, eye to eye
demands very sober, cuz yes shares this body
with permission only, yes–signed, sealed
deliverance from evil, no sin to be
tempted, but only with yes in the sheets
yes in the backseat, yes to a condom
yes, please go down on me until yes!
because yes is not swipe right, yes is hello
I want to get to know
you because maybe we
might yes, but the dance comes first, yes
the interplay of hey, flirt, hey, the pounding heart
of questioning yeses and not, let’s go
slow revolyestionary notion
that behold, this body and soul
that yes welcomes yes embraces yes
that taste of someone who has proven
of your yes
is worth the questing, slow beckoning
interrogating, interesting, conversating
adventuring yes is ongoing
yes the truest test
the consent of yes is necessary
woman human should read this book.
Young, old, and in-between.
Thank you, Ms. Anderson for having the courage to Shout about this important issue and to share your story with us.
Learn more about Laurie Halse Anderson here.