Chapter 15 - Acting

On their day off for Columbus Day, Melinda goes to Heather’s house. Heather’s mother is quite excited to see Melinda and offers to allow them to have a sleep-over with even more friends. She mentions that Melinda could invite some of her friends. Melinda just smiles and thinks that if she invited Rachel, the girl would slit her throat on Heather’s new carpet.

Heather’s renovated room is finished and Melinda describes every bit of its perfect organization and beautiful decorations. She envies her this room, because she can’t figure out how to do the same thing in hers.

Heather mentions that she would like to try out for the musical, but Melinda tells her it’s a waste of time since the Music Wingers is such a hard clan to break into without talent or connections. Heather still insists they should try out together. Melinda thinks to herself that the musical would be easy for her, because she has become such a good actor. She has been acting as if she doesn’t know that people are laughing at her or as if she has friends. She figures she could be a mime, if she dropped out of high school.

She tells Heather that they wouldn’t be chosen for the musical, because they are nobodies. Heather says it’s just not fair and that she hates high school. She compares Merryweather High to her old school and just can’t understand why it’s so hard to make friends here. Then, she blames a lot of her own problems making friends on Melinda who she labels as negative and moping around as if she didn’t care that people talked about her behind her back. Heather then begins to sob on her bed. She follows this bit of drama with a half-hearted apology to Melinda, saying she is the person Heather can trust. Melinda never says a word in response even when Heather plans that they will first work their way into a good group and make them like them. She knows that Heather’s plan is hopeless and her stomach is killing her, because Heather’s room isn’t big enough for all that emotion. She just leaves without saying goodbye.


The fact that Melinda barely says a word to Heather, even when the conversation is appealing, shows how immersed she has become in a world of silence. She speaks so eloquently to the reader that we have a hard time understanding how others, like Heather, might view her silence. To Heather, Melinda is moping and acting negative. To us, she is a child in a world of emotional pain. As for Melinda’s own observations, she sees little hope in anything and doesn’t even have the strength of will to respond to Heather.

It’s also important to note with this chapter that Heather was unable to come to Melinda’s defense during the pep rally, but still relies on her as a friend. We get the sense that if someone better would come along, Heather would “kick Melinda to the curb.” That then leads us to wonder why Melinda continues to put up with Heather even though she must be aware of how fickle she is. It just reinforces for the reader the fact that Melinda is desperate herself for anyone who will accept her, no matter under what circumstances.

Chapter 16 - Dinner Theater

The concept of acting and theater continues in this chapter when Melinda reveals that her parents are making threatening noises. She describes her father at the dinner table as doing his Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation and her mother playing Glenn Close. Melinda’s role is that of the victim. Her interim reports have arrived and they are angry at how low her grades are. Melinda’s response to their ranting is merely to play with her food and keep her head down. When her mother orders her to look at her in the Death Voice (the one that means business), Melinda rises from the table, takes her plate to the kitchen, and retreats to her room. She turns her music up as loudly as she can stand it to drown out the noise of their arguing after she leaves.


Everyone in Melinda’s world, including her, is playacting in some fashion. Heather pretends to be her friend, her other friends dump her even though they don’t try to find out why she really called the police, her parents pretend to care about her when their whole lives are wrapped up in their jobs, and she pretends not to care about anything when deep inside, she cares more than anyone. Once again she reacts without speaking as if speech if something she has denied herself for what happened to her at the party. She is the only one who has no voice and is the one who a needs a voice most of all.

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