Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
My Thoughts on "Out Of My Mind"
The book Out of My Mind is unique in that it is being told from the point of view of a girl with cerebral palsy, who cannot speak. She also can't walk, stand, roll over, or feed herself. But, she can think. She can learn facts, formulate opinions, crack jokes, make decisions, and understand the world around her. And, she can feel. She has emotions like any other child her age - like any other human being. While people often talk around her, they rarely consider her opinions on the issue.
This is a powerful story, and one that will surly raise your emotions. I love a book that makes you examine your own mindset, and guide you down a path of changing it. This is the kind of book Out of My Mind is, however it is not without its faults.
The Book's Cover
The cover of this book is what initially drew me to it. Knowing nothing about this story, the fish jumping from his fishbowl reminded me of a story a friend once told me about why she doesn't have any pets.
She told me that she once had a goldfish as a kid, and she swore that she took care of it so poorly, that the fish decided to take his own life. She said she vowed that day to never have another pet.
The view of this goldfish leaping out of his fishbowl was too much for me to resist. (I've long been expecting to see Elmo's goldfish, Dorothy, do this on Sesame Street.)
Out Of My Mind - A novel by Sharon Draper
6 Things I Learned From Out of My Mind - (or was reminded)
- Physical handicap eliminates neither intelligence nor emotions.
- ALL kids want to have friends. ALL kids want to be a part of their own generation and form social relationships with their peers.
- There is a social and emotional impact caused by lack of handicap accessibility.
- If you don't challenge a child to learn and give them the opportunity go grow, they never will.
- Technology has changed lives - and given people their lives back.
- Educational integration does not only benefit the disabled students.
From My Perspective
I love the idea of this book - the whole concept of being from the point of view of a girl with cerebral palsy. And, I do think that that it was effective in making the reader empathize with someone in those circumstances, however overall the book is missing something.
Perhaps it is because she is writing for a young adult audience, but I don't feel like we are getting the whole story. Throughout the book, we are experience Melody's emotions toward her situation. We see her frustrated with her situation and how much she has to depend on other people, and her frustration with her school. We see a little of her jealousy toward her sister and some other children. However, we never get an honest look at the anger she must have, and the fear.
We hear about her teachers and her aide, but we never hear about her occupational therapist, her physical therapist, or her speech language pathologist. We're told they are posting things online, so why does it not occur to her parents that there be some technology Melody could benefit from? For parents that work so hard to make sure Melody has the best opportunities afforded to her, why is it Melody who asks for a computer in order to communicate? It would seem much more probable that it be a speech language pathologist who recommends this.
Overall, the book has a bit of an after-school special feel to it. It leaves the aftertaste of well-calculated propaganda to persuade students to be friendlier to students in inclusion programs. It feels like the books was written to be sold to schools, rather than to tell the story. But regardless of its flaws, I would still recommend reading the book, as it is a quick read and it does make you think about things in a way you might not have before.
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Sharon M. Draper's official site - don't miss it!
Sharon M. Draper's official site
This Book's Greatest Flaw
It is dated.
My biggest problem with this book is that it dates itself. There are references in this book that are too specific and too trendy that they are almost completely irrelevant by the time the book was published.
For example, being released in January of 2011, the characters should not be uploading photos to myspace. Myspace is holding on by a thread and is not the place that people are interested in posting photos on. If an author wants their book to be long lasting, they would not choose a specific website to mention, but rather just say they are posting photos online. Online will likely be called 'online' for a while (surely longer than myspace will last) -or at least choose Facebook which was much more popular when the book was written, and only getting more popular.
Also, some of the slang used by Melody is absolutely absurd. I understand that Draper is trying to give Melody a youthful voice in order to show that she thinks and speaks like any other kid her age, however it doesn't work. Phrases like "it would be so tight if..." make Melody's inner monologue sound ridiculous. It immediately snaps you out of the story and makes you think, instead, about how disconnected the author is from the generation she is writing about. It sounds like how my Grandma would sound if she was trying to act like a pre-teen.
More on Out of My Mind
- With 'Out of my Mind,' novelist Sharon Draper dips into her own experience for a rich story: Young R
Fifth-grader Melody's no victim. Her parents and next-door neighbor adore and champion her. When she at last acquires a Medi-Talker that gives her an electronic voice, the world cracks open.
- Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists
- Out of My Mind Discussion Questions
Discussion Topics for OUT OF MY MIND The novel opens with a powerful discussion of the power of words and language. How does this help capture the reader's attention? What predictions can the reader make about the narrator of the story?