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Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Updated on September 10, 2014

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

Out of My Mind
Out of My Mind

This is also available as an audio book. Audio books, and how appreciated they are by some people, is addressed throughout the book, so of course it is itself also available in audio book format.


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.

This is Nel.  She was born with cerebral palsy, but it doesn't stop her from riding.
This is Nel. She was born with cerebral palsy, but it doesn't stop her from riding. | Source

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.

If you've read Out of My Mind, please share your thoughts - Give us YOUR opinion of Out of My Mind

What did you think of Draper's "Out of My Mind"?

Love it! Great read.

Love it! Great read.

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    • anonymous 2 years ago

      Why does the cover have a fish jumping out of its bowl. The fish came three times in the book. Its not that important. But still, great book.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      What are some allusions from the book?

    • Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I found it to be a powerful book. This is one that I will share widely. It deserves to be read by anyone who cares about unleashing the gifts of all children.

    • anonymous 4 years ago


      lots of disabled are kindhearted :( im crying right now HOW WOULD YOU FELL IF YU WERE DISABLED AND SOME ONE SAID THST TO YOU!! my mom is disabled veteran PTSD :( affensive to every kid and Sharon you can't just say She is not around kids THINK IF THAT WERE YOU AND HOW YOU FEEL kapesh

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I love this book so much... in the beginning.. shes a baby and end she grows up...

      my fav. part is when they were getting ready to leave and melodys mom was mad sad upset and they gotin the car and melody went crazy *her little 1 or 2 year old sister went behind the car* here mom went in revers, yelling at melody because melody was going crazy. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU" said her mom then started driving back and boom... her little sister broke an arm or a leg I AM 11 YEARS OLD AND I LOVE THAT BOOK! I AM VERY HAPPY FOR MELODY I HAVE A PHOTO MEM TO KINDA THTS HOW I REMEMBER I BET U CAN WALK TALK AND LOTS MORE THINK ABOUT WHAT MELODY CAN DO! DON'T MAKE FUN OF HER CARE FOR HER AT THE END THE QUIZ TEAM ABANDONED HER AND DID NOT TELL HER ABOUT THERE BREAKFAST MEETING BECAUSE SHE SLOWS THEM DOWN... just think how YOU would feel if you were here :D NOW LISTEN HELP EARTH AND SPECAIL PPL :) my mom says thank you Sharon m draper and I say I LOVE YOU AND I WOULD GIVE ALL MY MONEY TO YOU IF I COULD :D

    • anonymous 4 years ago


      love this girl :)

    • kab 4 years ago from Upstate, NY

      @anonymous: You're pretty much spot on. That's what I thought. too.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I think it was a very good book but SOO unrealistic. First of all, the terms used (ie 'the bomb', 'that's what's up' 'tight' 'tripping') were very dated, probably because it was written by an adult who may not be around kids much, second, Melody was simply too sweet, not all disabled children are these kindhearted, noble, unconditionally nice, misunderstood people, and her classmates were just too horrible to be taken seriously, there's a girl at my school who has mild cp and the teachers take her out shopping during school, buy her gifts and call her beautiful and inspiring 24/7, and we aren't allowed to even give her any kind of criticism, and this girl is incredibly rude and shallow. Third, the thing with Penny at the end wasn't really necessary, other than all that, I did enjoy the book.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      i think its very heart warming

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      This is one of my favorite books ever!!!!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I say its really kool like its relly relly relly awesome but sad

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I loved it and melody esentially became my best friend after reading it! it was amazing how much of a difference the Medi-talker made for her! you rock sharon draper!

    • Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I have not read the book, but since I've been on oxygen for 14 years, I have an inkling of the stigma attached to those who are "different." I'm 72 years old. When I'm in a crowd of people they tend to speak to the person who is with me, as if I cannot speak or hear. I've found I'm invisible to many, due to my age and disability. They figure if I'm unable to breathe well or walk very far, obviously, I'm brainless as well. I never realized this in my young years, and was probably one of those who did the very things I'm speaking about now. Age does bring wisdom to some, as it did to me. I make sure I speak to each person directly that I have any dealings with, because I know how hurtful it can be. I will read this book because the young lady obviously had the courage to write about how she felt. Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I would love to read it.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      it's a great book it teaches you that no matter what you look like, sound like, or act like that doesn't classify you as smart or dumb

    • Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This sounds like a very interesting read

    • kingtekrin 6 years ago

      It is definitely one of a kind. Thanks for sharing.

    Eh. Not great.

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      • anonymous 5 years ago

        i READ THIS BOOK!!!

      Living life, despite CP
      Living life, despite CP | Source

      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.


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          Nikeria 2 years ago

          I read this book in school and i think melody is a nice girl and very bright i would like to meet her one day.

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

          I hope this book gets read widely by children, teachers, parents, and all who are advocates for anyone with special needs. This book has layer upon layer upon layer of lessons that may generate powerful discussions. This book will stay with me for a very long time.

        • RuthMadison profile image

          RuthMadison 5 years ago

          I wonder if the author chose to use specific references to show what life was like for her right in that moment and to bring a sharp realism? I'm definitely curious to read it now.

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          JoshK47 5 years ago

          Sounds very interesting - thanks for sharing!

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 5 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          That does sound like a really interesting point of view. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to be trapped inside a body that doesn't function the way it should, if much at all, but having a perfectly functioning mind. How frustrating, to say the least.

        • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

          Lynne Schroeder 5 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

          This sounds like a very interesting read

        • Nancy Hardin profile image

          Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

          Thanks for the great review.

        • evelynsaenz1 profile image

          Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

          Nice review!

        • Linda BookLady profile image

          Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

          This reminds me of Dalton Trumbo's book, Johnny Got His Gun. I would love to read it....

        • bechand profile image

          bechand 6 years ago

          I haven't read it, but maybe I will ...

        • OhMe profile image

          Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          I really enjoyed your great review of Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper.

        • akumar46 lm profile image

          akumar46 lm 6 years ago

          Great review.Thanks.