REVIEWS: End of Month Reviews #19 - July 2005 [spoilers]

martinphipps2 at martinphipps2 at
Tue Aug 9 17:44:11 PDT 2005

Saxon Brenton wrote:

> Speak #6-9

>      It occurs to me that one of the factors that made it so hard to
> determine where things where going is because Gregory himself is so
> conflicted.

I asked Tom by e-mail "Can Greggory hear the narrator?"  Because from
issues 2 through 9 the narration is in second person: the narrator is
talking directly to Greggory.  So one wonders if Greggory can hear.
But Tom didn't answer.

Something occurred to me just now: suppose Greggory could actually hear
a voice in his head.  What would that mean?  The usual diagnosis of
schizophrenia, according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary anyway,
involves a "loss of contact with the environment" and "hallucinations".
 Hearing voices in his head would be enough reason for him to be
diagnosed as such.  He could even be paranoid schizophrenic and that
would explain his need to escape from responsibility, relationships and
authority, in this case the police.   Granted the voices in his head
were telling him NOT to do the things he was doing but being
schizophrenic doesn't necessarily mean listening to the voices: it's
enough that he hears them.  The narrator told him not to rape Dr.
Metronome... and he didn't.  So it's possible that Greggory could have
actually heard the narrator.

I read all of Speak.  I know that it can be read either way: either
Greggory heard the narration or he didn't.  Thing is, Tom probably
wouldn't want Greggory to be labelled schizophrenic, ie crazy.  That
would give him an out: an excuse for behaving the way he did.  The poor
guy: he was crazy.  He wasn't responsible.  I suspect this is the
farthest from what Tom wants us to think about Greggory: he wants us to
think Greggory is like you and me and that any of us might have been
capable of doing the things Greggory did.

Sigh.  Unfortunately, one way or another, I don't really feel Greggory
was playing with a full deck.  I hope Tom doesn't take this as
criticism.  On the contrary, Speak paints a frightening picture of
paranoia and possible delusion.

Oh!  Missed opportunity!  "Paranoia and possible delusion" could also
describe Harry.  What if he truly believed that his wife died of
cancer, that it wasn't just a lie?  What if Harry had voices in his
head too only they were telling him to do the things he did and not
trying to talk him out of them.  Do you see where I am going with this?

What if Harry actually had been Greggory's natural father?  That he and
Harry's mother had had an affair and that was why Greggory felt this
strange connection to the man.

Come on, Tom, don't tell us the idea hadn't crossed your mind. ;)


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