Bernell Spicer's Reviews > Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
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U_50x66
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: book-club, ya-middle-grade
Read in May, 2012

An important topic, earnestly told. Kudos for Draper for tackling such a difficult task -- writing a first-person narrative from the perspective of a profoundly disabled 11-year-old named Melody who cannot speak or walk and has limited use of her hands. What's more, it's written for a young adult or middle grade audience, which makes the undertaking all the more challenging. Unfortunately, the novel doesn't quite hit the mark. Draper does succeed in conveying what the life must be like for a disabled young person -- the struggles with daily functions most of us take for granted, the sense of being invisible, the humiliation of condescension and pity. But the writing is so stilted and the message so didactic that I can't imagine any kid finding it more than mildly entertaining.

As an adult reader, I also found the sloppy shifts in tense and the inconsistency of the voice distracting. At times Melody sounds like an 11-year-old, but frequently her language and her thoughts are too obviously those of an adult with a Message. I was also annoyed by illogical plot points. A kid in 2010 doesn't have a computer, or internet, or a therapist who would introduce her to assistive technology at home or school? The plot is internally inconsistent as well. When she's 4 or 5 Melody can use flash cards and spell out her needs, but at 8 she can't use her alphabet board to convey that she wants a Big Mac or tell a new teacher she already knows the alphabet?

I was moved at points, I cheered Melody on in the central conflict, and I was happily surprised when the predictable ending was given a twist. But overall, a disappointment. This story needs to be told. I just wish it had been done by a more deft writer.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Desiree (new) - added it

Desiree I think that with CP you can gain and lose abilities as you grow, as I understand it, it's because of the way our brain (& the way it functions) changes as we grow. That is why Melody might have been able to do something at one age and then be unable to do it later on.


Midnight Seriously, the problem here is that you ARE NOT 11 YEAR OLDS READING this. I think this book is wonderful, and I am a kid. Don't judge for kids if you aren't one.


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