That’s right, I’m reviewing another Speak adaptation. I do like that book that much. This time it’s the graphic novel with artist Emily Carroll.
As with the previous two, the plot is about high schooler Melinda who everyone hates because she went to a party and called the cops, getting everyone in trouble. The real reason and this is no longer a spoiler, she got raped at that party but was too afraid to say it. She still is afraid to say anything and her life is a wreck.
The important question is, how do adapt a book that’s everyday high school stuff into a graphic novel? Just like anything, draw what’s going on in the scenes. Of course, there needs to be more than that for the graphic novel to be worth reading. However, Carroll does do some creative things with the art. One of the earliest noteworthy things is when we are introduced to Rachel. Carroll uses three images of Rachel to have her tell Melinda “I hate you.”
This gets pumped to eleven when we finally see Melinda’s rapist. Of course, one of the worst things to do is to be graphic about a rape scene. It will hit the reader like a ton of bricks, but some will view it as going too far. Carroll mixes in a good balance of showing the rape by not being graphic. Making her rapist’s eyes all black making him look scarier is a nice touch. The most graphic scene is the one where Melinda’s rapist confronts her in the abandoned janitor closet. That scene is so well done and emotional that you can hear the commotion and Melinda’s screams.
As for the rest of the art, simplicity is the spice of life. Yes, the characters and backgrounds are simply drawn but as stated above the instances of creative genius comes out when it matters.
Like I said in my review of the book, it does read like a Lifetime special but it’s a great Lifetime special. The graphic novel does justice to the book with art that may be simple but when it’s time to go all out it does. This and the book will be on my bookshelf while the movie won’t be.