Out of My Mind review í 0

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Out of My MindOver 15 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind and discovered the brilliant mind of Melody Brooks Out of My Mind spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list “If there’s one book teens and parents and everyone else should read this year Out of My Mind should be it” The Denver Post “A gutsy candid and compelling story It speaks volumes” School Library Journal starred revi. Oh man I'm finding this book very difficult to write about I really want to like this book Before I was a librarian I was a disability rights advocate; and of the many experiences that I had during those six years one of the most intense and formative was supporting a young woman my age who had CP and was nonverbal She was a client and then a friend and much of our time together was spent supporting her to learn how to use a speech device to communicate in her own words She passed away a few years ago and I miss her Our friendship and the experience of supporting her to learn to speak using her own words necessarily colors my reading of this book and others like it so that's why I feel the need to include it in a book review My family experience with disability in general and CP in particular changes my perspective too It makes me an unobjective reader and prone to judge the book on my own experiences so of course take my review with a grain or ten of salt Please excuse any rambling So as a reader and in my librarian life I freuently look for books for teens and kids that star characters with disabilities There are truly wonderful ones Rules and terrible ones So B It I particularly keep my eyes open for books that star characters with depth complexity and personhood rather than ones that use people with disabilities as a foil or plot device acting on characters without disabilities And I freuently get irritated at authors who write ridiculous inauthentic portrayals of PWD cough So B It cough I know that gifted authors can write anything whether or not it's close to their own life experience but I have found that for the most part authors who write what they know about PWD rather than what they've gleaned from inaccurate pop culture representations tend to write better books So when I heard about this book shaped in part by Sharon Draper's own experience as the mother of a child with CP who is nonverbal I had high hopes Even though she's not writing about her daughter her writing must be informed from her experiences and in some ways it's really successful When Draper describes Melody's physical reactions really all the ways that everyone can see her from the outside it rings true Her descriptions of Melody's physical reactions are pitch perfect as are the reactions she gets from many people around her the special ed classrooms and the incredibly frustrating nature of being confined to limited language Clearly Draper has a lot of insight and an insider perspective that's valuable to us as readers And she has a worthwhile agenda she wants young readers to uestion their assumptions about PWD including nonverbal people and to recognize that Melody is brilliant than she appears and underestimated I think this is where the premise derails from the first page really The story is unapologetically didactic but also stilted in its writing Melody lacks complexity as a character she's brilliant in kind of an Encyclopedia Brown way with a photographic memory the ability to retain anything she learns and perfect spelling Unfortunately she has about Encyclopedia's level of depth and well roundedness as well It's not just that this is unlikely that people's brains don't develop their neural pathways in uite that orthographic way without a lot of verbal and written practice regardless of their intelligence It takes a long long time with a lot of practice to learn how to be fluent in verbal and written communication whether you have a disability or not It doesn't hold water it's unrealistic and painfully hopeful But let's assume that we accept Melody's Encylopedia Brown like reality and suspend disbelief If we believe that Melody has instant facility with spoken language or learned how to use a complex speech device in a single weekend without the support of

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E she has cerebral palsy But she also has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced She’s the smartest kid in her whole school but NO ONE knows it Most people her teachers her doctors her classmates dismiss her as mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise But Melody refuses to be defined by her disability And she’s determined to let everyone know itsomehow. I feel a bit heartlessAfter reading all the Newbery hype about Out of My Mind I went into it expecting an absolutely life changing book about cerebral palsy After reading Ben Mikaelsen's horrendous Petey this past spring I was certain Draper's treatment of the subject would be leaps and bounds above that drivelIt is And it isn't Mostly it isUnlike my feelings about Petey my emotions about this book are mixed in the strictest sense of the word For every element of the book I enjoyed there was something I abhorred Good Melody's characterization is a real eye opener She leaps off the page and there are moments that feel as if she is in a room with you telling her story Whether it was the bold faced font that indicates her 'speaking voice' or her vivid dissecting of the actions of those around her she is a masterpiece of character development Her interactions with Ms V are particularly heartfelt especially in the opening chapters of the books when the details of their complex relationship are unveiled Bad As an educator I am appalled by the portrayal of teachers in this book Cold hearted nasty lax disciplinarians there's even a ruthless streak in the history teacher Mr Dimming that's almost caricature like This man not only tolerates the taunts of class bullies Claire and Molly only combating their nastiness once and in a simpering manner at that he himself participates in the bullying Despite being painted as nice both the music and English teachers also fail to discipline the mean girls effectively neither of them attempting to teach the little brats why their behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated Additionally the special education teachers are absurd In an era of litigation and compulsory inclusion the professionals who populate H 5 with the exception of Mrs Shannon would have been fired within the first week of school Despite having been an English teacher for 25 years Draper seems to have a chip on her shoulder with those in the profession Good Melody is super smart and though other reviewers have found that to be a bit of a stretch I think it's an extremely salient distinction for Draper to make It's human nature I think to assume that those with physical disabilities are somehow mentally disabled as well That this book gracefully navigates those waters is vitally important and I think young readers need to have that information that prejudice presented to them compassionately handled with dignity Draper really succeeds here because she triggers enough emotional reactions to inspire children to uestion their own actions around their classmates and to evaluate their own prejudices There's a particularly powerful scene between Melody and a crewmember at a local television station Lump meet throat Bad The two BIG EVENTS at the end I'm sorry Both of these ridiculous plot contrivances are what dropped the book down to three stars The first is predictable and mean spirited and further reinforces what a terrible person and incompetent educator Mr Dimming is The second which is foreshadowed in Chapter 19 like a Sledgehammer of Obvious is completely pointless Was it designed to make Melody worry about her sister's normality Was it supposed to draw the family closer together I have no idea It felt very last secondGood Melody's comeuppance in the end The trophy and abrupt exit were classic And her loving revisiting of the characters who populate room H 5 Also incredible Even though they're flat characters through Melody's eyes they are powerful examples of human potential Bad The verb tenses Sweet God they were all over the place Past tense until chapter 10 Then present tense But only for a chapter Then it's back to past tense Then present a few chapters later Initially I thought Hmm Maybe these are flashbacks But no Sometimes we get M

review Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind review í 0 ☆ Over 15 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind and discovered the brilliant mind of Melody Brooks Out of My Mind spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list “If there’s one book teens and parents and everyone else should read this year Out of My Mind should be it” — The DenveEw “Unflinching and realistic” Kirkus Reviews starred review “UpliftingThis moving novel will makes activists of us all” Booklist starred review From award winning author Sharon Draper comes a story that will forever change how we all look at anyone with a disability perfect for fans of RJ Palacio’s WonderEleven year old Melody is not like most people She can’t walk She can’t talk She can’t write All becaus. I can't even begin to explain the importance of this book and how it has the power to influence so many people in how they treat others I honestly don't even have words to describe my feelings for this book just yet but once I do I plan on screaming them from the rooftops so that everyone reads this book