Thursday, 28 July 2011

Out of My Mind (by Sharon M Draper)

This book is one that I just couldn't stop reading. Luckily today was a day where I could just keep on reading. I cried. I laughed out loud. I held my breath. I would jump ahead because I could hardly stand the anticipation, and then go back and carefully read what I missed. And when it was all over I just sat there and stared off into space as I slowly shook off the story and surfaced back into

This is a great book!

The story is about a girl who has cerebral palsy. The center of the story is when she is in Grade 5. It tells what happens prior to Gr 5...and then picks up from there where the central character, Melody, is.

Fifth grade is probably pretty rocky for lots of kids. Homework. Never being quite sure if you're cool enough. Clothes. Parents. Wanting ot play with toys and wanting to be grown up all at the same time. Underarm order.

And Melody is right there. Only we would have never known if she hadn't discovered Elvira - a computer that helps her communicate. Prior to that she couldn't at all. Even though no one knew it (well, her parents knew it) she had a lot going on in her head and Elvira helps her show others what she knows. She's not just smart, she's brilliant.

There were so many places in this book where I turned down the corner of the page (my apologies to the librarians) so I could remember that bit of the story.

This book is an amazing insight into the life and mind of a disabled person. I plan to never be the same as a result of reading it!

Some of my favorite parts:

  • Chapter 7 - I love Melody's mom and how she tells off the teacher. Idiot teacher! Teachers are supposed to have a special vision and see children's potential. That teacher was a dough-head.
  • Chapter 11 - Melody gives amazing insight into how badly she would like to communicate. She knows words. She understands - she just can't say them. I love her description of Garfield and how she wishes she could have balloons above her head.
  • Chapter 15 when she tells her parents for the first time with words, that she loves them. I wanted to put the book down and cry with the ugly face! So heartwarming!
  • Chapter 19 where Melody prepares responses for people who ask what is wrong with her (she has a hilarious sense of humor). For those who are genuinely concerned she says, "I have spastic bilateral quadriplegia, also known as cerebal palsy. It limits my body, but not my mind."  And for the snotty people she runs into she prepared, "We all have disabilities. What's yours?"
  • Chapter 21 where she makes the team.....I wanted to jump up and shout! I thought my heart would explode. It reminded me of times when I've watched Jill race and succeed. I just love her so much I ache to see her succeed and be happy. The author of this book does an amazing job of helping you feel that way about Melody. And then, Chapter 33, when things don't go that well, you just wish you could fix it, rewind life, run away - but you can't. And all the heartache is part of growing up. It makes them the amazing people they are....but it kills you to see them go through the heartache. That's what happens in this book.
I read this book while the kids were at Park and Play. I hung around in case they needed anything. At the pool I was sitting in the awful viewing area where there's no air conditioning. It was horridly hot - but I couldn't move. I had to keep reading.

Seriously. You've got to read this book.The author has a great website with a Q&A section. It's well worth checking out. Apparently the author is a teacher. No wonder she had the school aspects of this book so bang on. Beautiful!

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