Danielle Wright's Reviews > Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
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Mar 26, 12

The only thing I knew going into this text, was that the female protagonist was living with Asperger’s syndrome. Because my younger cousin was diagnosed with Asberger’s, I immediately went into defensive mode when approaching this text. I was hesitant, fearful that the book would fail to provide an accurate portrayal of what life is like with this condition. Before beginning this text I needed to conduct my own research –again, I admit I was in full skeptic mode—I needed to make sure that she had the insight and experience needed to write a story about this disease. My research told me she absolutely does: her daughter has Asperger’s syndrome and it was she who inspired the story.
As a reader, I was surprise that the tragedy referenced on the back cover was a school shooting. I suppose I was expected a text similarly to Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman. The entire focus of that text surrounds a young boy living with Cerebral Palsy. In this regard, I did not immediately know how to deal with the additional tragedy, and at first I felt as if this addition caused there to be “too much going on.” But after closing the book for a few minutes, and reflecting, I decided I had preconceived notions and irrational biases that were clouding my judgment. I began the entire book again, and it was a different experience. My heart broke when Caitlin lost her best friend, because he served as her connection to the outside world, he served as her translator, and helped her understand what was going on around her.
As a teacher, I would absolutely teach this book, or have in it my classroom library. It would provide an interesting discussion to take place about students who live with exceptionalities. Students would identify with the themes of overcoming obstacles and personal perseverance.
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