Out Of My Mind

December 2, 2012

Realistic Fiction
By Sharon M. Draper
Reviewed by: Allison Riegel
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

“I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings.
But only in my head.
I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.”

Melody is trapped inside her own head. Her cerebral palsy prevents her from walking, writing, holding objects, and, most important to her, talking. Melody, who has a photographic memory and is extremely bright, is confined by her inability to communicate and by people’s opinions of her. Anyone who looks at her will see a tiny, sometimes drooling, occasionally kicking or flailing girl with dark curly hair strapped into pink wheelchair. She appears to be stupid and incapable of learning. She is stuck in a class for ‘special’ children, and in March of third grade her teacher is still going over the letter ‘B’. Fifth grade is a turning point in her life, the year her school begins inclusion classes, the year she gets her own assistant, and the year she obtains something she has longed for her entire life. She gets a new computer, specially designed for people like her, that enables her to talk and type and try out to join her school’s Whiz Kids quiz team.

I thought this book was very insightful and thought provoking. It shows what it would be like to be unable to take care of yourself or communicate, and how much we are blessed to be ‘normal’. I would recommend this book to someone who wants a relatively easy read with a strong message, or someone who is curious about how disabilities affect people. It is set in the present, and seems to do a good job of keeping the facts straight. I enjoyed this book because it was well written, and because I enjoy reading about how people overcome obstacles. When you read this book, you can almost hear Melody’s voice as she tells her story.

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