Mark's Reviews > Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
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This book doesn't lose its beauty or heart for me, no matter how many times I read it. It still gets me, every time.

"'How did you get to be so smart?'

I shrug. 'I'm really working hard on finesse.'

Then he takes my hands in his and I don't even pull them away because he is looking at my cuts closely and I would want to do that too if I saw cuts on somebody's hands so I let him look.

'Do you still really want to do this?'

I don't know if he means to keep cutting the oak tree or work on the chest but I say, 'Yes,' just in case he means the chest.

'You think this will bring us Closure?'

I shake my head. 'No. I know it will.'

He blows a little air out of his nose and nods. He lets go of my hands and does one more big sigh. 'Maybe we can make something good and strong and beautiful come out of this.'

Good and strong and beautiful. I like those words. They sound like Devon. I want to build something good and strong and beautiful."

I'm surprised that I never wrote a review for this before, but apparently I read it last summer, when I was away from Goodreads, so consider this a catch-up. This novel is told from the perspective of Caitlin, a 5th grader with Asperger's, who has just lost her older brother to a random school shooting. In addition, her mother has died of cancer years before, so now it's just her and her father in the house, and her father is taking the loss extremely hard. Caitlin, however, is struggling to understand the changes that have suddenly taken place in her life, and in addition to having to make it through each day with her condition, she now also has to face the prospect of life without Devon, the only other person who truly understood her, and who made it possible for her to face the world. With the help of a school counselor, some new friends, and her father, Caitlin attempts to find Closure to the events that took Devon out of her life.

I love the narrative voice in this novel, respect the way Erskine treats a character with Asperger's, and appreciate the fact that the book makes me cry. Every time. I think this is a gorgeous book, that does tug at the heartstrings, but with the situations Caitlin is in, it's hard not to have moments like that. There are tremendous lessons in this novel, about empathy, friendships, and generally dealing with people who are different than us. It would be a fantastic novel to teach, and not just for the lessons about disabilities. Larger lessons can easily be drawn from this one. It's a fantastic book, and one of my favorites that I put on my YA syllabus for this semester. I just hope the rest of the class liked it, also.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Elizabeth I really liked this book too. :)


Courtney I still say she got robbed by that stupid ship-book. You know the one. I demand a Printz recount!


Jason This was my favorite read of 2011. I literally ran out of Sunday morning church, so I could get home and finish it. Then, on a whim, I asked Kathy Erskine if she would Skype with my students and me. She agreed! I read Mockingbird aloud to them, and then we got to Skype with her. Hands down, it was my favorite day in the classroom of this school year.


Mark That's fantastic, Jason! There have been a number of really strong YA books that deal with ASD in recent years, but this one is probably my favorite.

Jason wrote: "This was my favorite read of 2011. I literally ran out of Sunday morning church, so I could get home and finish it. Then, on a whim, I asked Kathy Erskine if she would Skype with my students and me..."


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