Meeting My Favorite Author

In my last article, I wrote about Laurie Halse Anderson’s book Speak and how it changed my life. Life is funny, I suppose, because I recently met her. She had a book signing at Rosemont College, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go. The cost was only $20 for my entrance ticket, her new book, for her to sign it and take a picture with her. A total steal.  

After driving over an hour to get there, I could feel myself welling up at the thought of everything. Middle school me was absolutely living. In all seriousness, Laurie is a huge reason why I am here as a writing major with dreams of publishing my own book. There are very few books I can say have resonated with me the way Speak has.

I found my seat—in the second row, if you can believe—about 30 minutes before she was scheduled to begin. I would have been in row one if the spots weren’t  reserved for friends and family. A few of my friends have told me we look a little alike, so maybe I should’ve just chanced it.

While waiting, I was able to get a head start on reading her book; I soared through the first 100 pages easy. I’m always mesmerized by everything Laurie writes, and Shout was no exception. It’s a little different from her usual books, being a memoir mixed with poetry, but I could still hear the usual voice coming through the pages.  

Soon, fellow author, Madeline Miller, came out to introduce Laurie and interview her. Laurie came out in converse and sweats, and she was everything I imagined her to be and more.

Madeline asked about her sudden urge to go public with such a personal story, the connection she makes with her readers and her continuous fight against censorship.

I keep trying to tell friends the stories she told and describe the way she spoke, but I could never explain life the way she did. I can tell she is a genuine person. She tries her best to write about important topics and does them justice.  

After the presentation was over, I was one of the first people in line to get their book signed. I really had to hold the fangirl in. Someone nearby took my phone to take a picture of me and Laurie. I look like a hot mess in it, but I don’t care at all.

As she was signing, she asked where I am in my life, and I told her I’m a sophomore in college. I was thrilled to tell her I’m a writing major and that I owed it to her and Speak. When I turned to leave, she blew me a kiss and thanked me for coming. I was beaming. Don’t judge my crush on her.

I was in the best mood the whole way back to Kutztown. I’m so grateful for the experience I had with Laurie, an author who genuinely cares about her readers.

I can only hope to write a book one day that affects others the way she has affected me.