Chances are you’ve heard about the Parkland Shooting that took place in March last year. But, if you haven’t read “Parkland Speaks” edited by MSD teacher Sarah Lerner, you’re not getting the full picture. “Parkland Speaks” is a book made up of poetry, photos, speeches, letters, drawings, and journal entries from students and teachers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The book is certainly not a page turner. In fact, I often found myself dreading the next page because reading the student’s stories makes you feel like you are witnessing the event. It’s heart-wrenching. As the back cover says, “It is real. It is raw. It happened to them.” Reading this truly makes you understand. You get to see the story from the student’s perspective. It was a very sad read, but necessary to understand more. PS (Parkland Speaks) is going to spark change.
The book talks about the recovery process, the shooting itself, what was done in memorial for the victims, what people are doing to make sure this never happens again, and stories from friends of the victims. It’s rather dark, so I’d say readers should be over the age of 10, at least. It’s a pretty quick read. There are mentions of death, blood, violence, and guns. What’s devastating is just how real PS is. This isn’t fiction, it actually happened, and if something doesn’t change it could continue to happen. That’s is why this book is important. It’s raising awareness and helping us all put ourselves in the student’s shoes. One of my favorite parts of the book was the poem “Never Again” by Lyliah Skinner. It was so beautifully raw and truthful. It allowed me to really see just how bad the outcome of the shooting is, and after reading it I was inspired to do something about it. “Can’t you hear?” by Alyson Sheehy was very good as well.
I absolutely love “Parkland Speaks.” It’s very sad that it had to be written in the first place, but it is one of the reasons why a book like this won’t need to be written again. All of the writing in the book was exquisite, and the photos added a nice touch. After reading I now know the full story and am inspired to help make change. It’s definitely worth the read. “Parkland Speaks” is a masterpiece.