Monday, June 30, 2014

Out Of My Mind - Sharon Draper

Summary: Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory.  Her head is like a video camera that is always recording.  Always.  And there's no delete button.  She's the smartest kid in her whole school--but NO ONE knows it.  Most people--her teachers and doctors included--don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again.  If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows...but she can't, because Melody can't talk.  She can't walk.  She can't write.  Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind--that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever.  At last Melody has a voice...but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.  (Summary from back of the book and image from

My Review:  This has been on my to-read stack for an embarrassingly long time.  And I do wish I'd picked it up  sooner.  It seems the YA book-world has started to flesh out more options to show students another perspective, another world that revolves around those who aren't born with the 'normal' skills and abilities.  Wonder is another of these books and I'd highly recommend that one as well.

Melody is a likeable character and in some ways is older than her years.  What's interesting is the dicotomy of her personality.  There are times she's so much wiser than her peers, and then there are other times where she openly admits to losing it and throwing tantrums--understandably knowing how she's been cooped inside her mind for so long.  And I think that's an accurate depiction of the book.  There are aspects that are just marvelous--mind-opening and heartfelt.  And then there are other times where things feel a little forced and maybe a little preachy.  What makes the book feel right is that it doesn't follow a perfect 'happy ending' that many of the YA group would naturally expect or want, but it does leave you satisfied.

Overall, I'd still recommend this to my students, especially those in middle school.  If there was ever a time in someone's life to get outside of yourself and realize how lucky/blessed you really are for what you have, it's middle school. 

Rating:  4 stars

Sum it up:  A wonderful reminder that people are not their disabilities.

1 comment:

Jillian said...

I remember reading this a few years ago and loving it as well. It was such a charming book, and a great way to see this from another perspective. Loved the writing and the pace as well.


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