Sunday, September 12, 2010

David vs. Melinda

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a novel about a girl who draws into herself and stops speaking after a traumatic experience. (I don’t want to give it away! Read the book!) Melinda speaks only as much as she has to, to keep parents and other adults from having her committed. Melinda’s character is rich and well-drawn, so that I can’t do it justice in a short blog post.

But don’t you just love a book where the secondary characters are fleshed out and well-written? David Petrakis was my favorite character in Speak. Even more than Melinda.

David is Melinda’s bio lab partner, and he really only makes a few appearances in the book. Those appearances, though, are beautiful. I was impressed with Anderson's ability to convey his character so well in such brief snippets.

He stands up to an autocratic teacher, then helps Melinda stand up to him as well. When Melinda complains that she still got a poor grade, David tells her, honestly, that she deserved it.

I have friends like that, and I love them best in all the world. They stand up with me against a foe, then stand up to me because I was wrong. I may not agree at first (neither did Melinda), but we’re better friends because of it.

David was quietly there for Melinda throughout the book. He never pressured her, but he was supportive and made it clear that he liked her, despite her problems. I was rooting for him throughout the book.

I wish there were a sequel about David. I’d read it in a heartbeat.

I am reading John Green’s Paper Towns, now. I just got several new books on writing, so I can satisfy my nonfiction cravings, too.

What are you reading?