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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Author:Laurie Halse Anderson
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub, azw3
Tags: General Fiction
ISBN: 9780141310886
Publisher: Speak
Published: 1999-01-01T07:00:00+00:00


Speak

STUNTED

Mr. Freeman has found a way around the authorities again. He painted the names of all his students on one wall of the

classroom, then made a column for each week left of school. Each week he evaluates our progress and makes a note on the wall. He calls it a necessary compromise.

Next to my name he's painted a question mark. My tree is frozen. A kindergartner could carve a better tree. I've stopped counting the linoleum blocks I ruined. Mr. Freeman has reserved the rest of them for me. Good thing, too. I am dying to try a different subject, something easy like designing an entire city or copying the Mona Lisa, but he won't budge. He suggested I try a different medium, so I used purple finger paints. The paint cooled my hands, but did nothing for my tree. Trees.

On a shelf I find a book of landscapes filled with illustrations of every stinking tree that grows: sycamore, linden, aspen, willow, fir, tulip poplar, chestnut, elm, spruce, pine. Their bark, flowers, limbs, needles, nuts. I feel like a regular forester, but I can't do what I'm supposed to. The last time Mr. Freeman had anything good to say to me was when I made that stupid turkey-​bone thing.

Mr. Freeman is having his own problems. He mostly sits on his stool and stares at a new canvas. It is painted one color, so blue it's almost black. No light comes out of it or goes in, no shadows without light. Ivy asks him what it is. Mr. Freeman snaps out of his funk and looks at her like he just realized the room was full of students.

Mr. Freeman: "It is Venice at night, the color of an accountant's soul, a love rejected. I grew mold on an orange this color when I lived in Boston. It's the blood of imbeciles.

Confusion. Tenure. The inside of a lock, the taste of iron. Despair. A city with the streetlights shot out. Smoker's lung. The hair of a small girl who grows up hopeless. The heart of a school board director ..."

He is warming up for a full-​fledged rant when the bell rings. Some teachers rumorwhisper he's having a breakdown. I think he's the sanest person I know.



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