In the final section, Anderson’s focused, first-person narrative becomes more of a chorus as she recounts the stories that readers, female and male, adults but especially teenagers, have shared with her about their own experiences with sexual assault and harassment. The classroom benefit of this book is undeniable—it’s a primer on writing and on living, and both Speak and Anderson’s effect on teens has never waned. But more than that, it is a captivating, powerful read about clawing your way out of trauma, reclaiming your body, and undoing lifetimes of lessons in order to use your voice as the weapon it is. Fervent and deafening.
Part of the power of Shout — perhaps the most significant contribution of any memoir of childhood sexual assault and abuse — lies in its ability to provoke [specific kinds] of recognition among some of its readers ... If Shout only shouted, it would be sufficient as a memoir, one that is regrettably still needed today. These stories need to be told — and heard. But the book does so much more ... [Anderson] offers rich metaphors and language play to explore how someone can work through that pain — never forgetting it, never not feeling it in some way, but acknowledging it, and recognizing it in each other ... Part of what makes Shout so compelling is that Anderson gives voice to her own assault — and her attempt to recover from it — at the same time that she implicates a larger culture of patriarchal sexism in enabling such assaults ... If anything, I would have wished for more of this in Shout — not to take the place of the necessary and difficult telling of painful stories of abuse, but to offer additional ways to think about, to feel, to experience sexuality in all of its intimate, befuddling complexities. I wanted more of the poetry of creation, not just accusation, however necessary the latter is. To be fair, such a balancing act might not be appropriate yet...
SHOUT is Anderson’s reckoning; it follows a hurting cry to the universe that turns into a hard-won path to healing and ultimately unfolds into a powerful call to action ... The strengths of SHOUT lie in these foundational experiences that shaped Anderson’s career. The book falters when it strays from the title’s directive, particularly in portions of the first and third parts that meander slightly. Anderson excels when she narrows her focus, aiming her lens directly at the reader to speak about rape culture. Those who recognize their complicity in or perpetuation of it will, and should, feel uncomfortable. Those who are victims and survivors of it will be empowered by its anger and find comfort in its hope ... serves as both a testament to the life-altering, lifesaving impact of these types of stories — and as an urgent and brutal reminder of their ongoing necessity.
Anderson is breaking ground again with a memoir-in-verse that challenges categorization and the ways we’ve thought about the YA genre for the past 20 years ... the ferociously raw, burning heart of this memoir is the recounting of her rape at the age of 13. In searing free verse, Anderson unloads decades of trauma on these pages. Although younger teens will benefit from being able to unpack and discuss many passages with an emotionally available adult, there’s good reason to believe that SHOUT will become popular assigned reading in classrooms around the country—especially in light of our atrocious cultural problem with rape, sexual abuse and consent ... Longtime Anderson fans will appreciate this deeply personal look into how the author channeled her pain into the writing of Speak, and readers new to her work will be swept up in her singular style, which melds bold honesty with fluttering moments of lyrical beauty.
The verse flows like powerful music, and Anderson's narrative voice is steady and direct ... Readers new to Anderson will find this accessible. It’s a strong example of how lived experience shapes art and an important book for the #MeToo movement ... Necessary for every home, school, and public library.
Powerful ... In language alternately raw and lyrical, [Anderson] traces the years from her childhood to the start of her writing career, describing how the memory of her rape finally spurred her to write the truth and to become an activist against censorship and rape culture, which are both addressed in the book along with confusing social messages surrounding sexuality ... Her potent words and willingness to shout her message are proof of the soundness of that advice.