Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-05-01
Genres: Family, General, Social Issues, Special Needs, Young Adult
“If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it” (Denver Post).Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.
How’s this for a small world: my husband’s friend from two jobs ago had Sharon M. Draper as his high school English teacher. I know this because he and I are friends on Instagram and he commented on a picture I posted of me reading the book. They are friends on Facebook! He said Sharon Draper is amazing both as a person and as a teacher. I believe it.
Oh, this book. I’m definitely buying a copy for the library.
There isn’t much I can say following that video by Sharon Draper, but I’ll try.
As I already mentioned, I picked this book because it was recommended to me by a then-4th grader. She loved it and called it her favorite book. She also said she cried and cried reading it! Can you blame her? Even I, stiff-upper-lipper that I am, felt emotional at times when Melody’s mother battled the ignorant doctor or when teachers didn’t give Melody the credit she deserved.
I also felt like I was suffocating reading about Melody’s life through her eyes. To be so intelligent, so aware, and to not be able to move or speak or control your body? I kept imagining myself in that position and I could barely keep in check the feeling of frustration and panic coming over me.
Now, the big question. Did I like it more than Wonder, another great, great book everyone should read? No, though I did like parts of it better. Both are great books about an invisible kid who just wants to be seen. That’s the thing about August and Melody. Their medical conditions make them painfully visible to the world, and yet it’s those same conditions make them fade into the background. Few people want to deal with the obstacles they face, like a missing wheelchair ramp at a restaurant. As I read the book I wondered if I was one of those people who ignored or discredited. I’ll bet you I was.
I liked the ending for Out of My Mind better than I did for Wonder. I felt that Wonder had an After School Special ending, whereas Out of My Mind was more realistic. I’m having a really tough time writing this post without spoilers! Ack! We’ll talk more in the comments–remember, the comments are a spoiler zone. Don’t read if you don’t want to know!