Laurie Halse Anderson has posted on her Livejournal an entry about a man who has declared that her novel Speak is “soft-core pornography” due to the rape scenes. In my review of Speak I did not address the sexual issues brought up in the novel because I didn’t want to include any spoilers. But now I am going to speak out and up about my view of it.
Not once while reading the book did I feel like I was reading something inappropriate. Quite the opposite in fact. I feel that Anderson did a great job of fully explaining the events in a graphic but NOT pornographic manner. As Anderson points out in her blog entry calling it pornography implies that readers would be getting some sort of sexual gratification out of reading it. I can’t imagine any healthy individual becoming aroused by reading Speak.
How are we supposed to educate our youth about important and unfortunately somewhat common issues if we can’t write books that talk about them? When I become a parent I will encourage my children to read stories that keep them informed and challenge them to think about life and the choices they will have to make and situations they may find themselves in. I will use these books to start constructive conversations and I hope that others are currently doing this with their teens.
You can check out Laurie Halse Anderson’s post here.
I feel this goes along with the book banning issue I recently addressed. Let me know your opinion on that in my Book Banning Poll.