Kelly's Reviews > Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
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Jan 03, 11

bookshelves: children-s-literature
Read in January, 2011

Ok, here's the thing.

I remember when this book first came in. I hesitated to read it even then because I thought it sounded like the sort of book that was trying to win an award. Then the more hype it got, the more I put it off.

Now, having finally read it, I can understand some of the hype. It's emotional (I shed some tears) and will certainly get kids talking. But I don't want it to win the Newbery. Here's why:

I did not like the writing. It sounded like an adult trying to sound like a ten year old kid. An outdated ten year old kid. And the verb tenses were off, which bothered me.

And then there was another major issue. I had a feeling while reading it that Sharon Draper might have a child with CP--something that I was able to confirm after reading it. I think it allowed Draper to make the difficulties of raising a nonverbal child with CP very real, yet I think it hindered her writing. In some cases, I don't think writers should write about something that is so personal and that they feel so passionate about that they can't step away from their own prejudices and feelings. It seems to me that Draper has had some bad experiences dealing with doctors, psychologists and special ed teachers, and these experiences translated into her creating very one dimensional, almost comically bad characters. None of them, with the exception of maybe the parents and the neighbor, felt real to me.

Then there's Melody herself. I want to believe that such a person could really exist, but as I read, I couldn't help having some doubts. I don't doubt her brain, it was the communication part that bothered me. Could learning to communicate with a machine have really been so easy? I want to believe so, but I'm just not sure.

And the end. Well, I guess it was better than an overly sweet one, but still. It seemed random.
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