Recently, I finished reading Out of My Mind a 295 page realistic fiction novel. Written by Sharon Draper. She is a amazing writer who has written over thirty one novels so far, in various genres. She graduated from Pepperdine University and has been writing books since 1994. In 2010 she published Out of My Mind. This book won her a Nutmeg award. But this is not the only reward it has received. Out of My Mind has also won 11 other awards. Making Sharon Draper a more admired author.
I decided to read this book because my friend was reading it. And she had recommended it to me. She had told me that she really enjoyed it. She had also recommended books to me in the past and I had liked them all. So, I decided to give it a try. I’m very glad I did because I really enjoyed it. And I would recommend it to anyone.
This novel is told by an eleven year old girl, Melody Brooks perspective. Melody has cerebral palsy. So she can not move herself and is forced to use a wheelchair. She can not feed herself, or even speak. Sometimes she even drools on herself, since she can not control her body. But her mind works excellently. She is way smarter than a lot of kids her age. Since Melody can not speak she tries her best to give her thoughts to people. But no one really understands what she means, not even her parents. Which she finds very annoying and gets mad about. In school Melody is in special education classes but dreads them. She thinks that they are so boring. Because she already knows everything they are trying to teach her. And everyone underestimates how smart she actually is. Including most of her teachers. Who speak to her lie she is a two year old. All she really wants is to be normal. Be able to talk. Walk. And just do things like a normal kid for the first time. So when she gets an opportunity to finally go to a class with the other kids in her grade, without special education. She takes it. Without hesitation. But most of them are not nice to her. Make fun of her. And they even say rude things in front of her. Like she is not even there and she can not understand them. They act like she is super dumb. She finally gets a communication device that helps her talk to other people. But they still think she is super dumb. One day at school she participates in a competition. To see if she can be in a trivia competition. She is the only person who gets every single question right. Everyone including her teacher are amazed. And people accuse her of cheating. But the test guaranteed her a spot on the team. Which she was very excited about. But will she do good in an actual competition? Will the other kids let her be on the team? Will she make real friends and fit in like she always dreamed of?
A passage in this novel I really liked was when Melody was talking about herself. And what it was like inside her head. This is what Sharon Draper wrote:
I’m surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions.
Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate.
Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippopotamus.
Silky. Terrifying. Iridescent.
Tickle. Sneeze. Wish. Worry.
Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes—each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.
Deep within me, words pile up in huge drifts. Mountains of phrases and sentences and connected ideas. Clever expressions. Jokes. Love songs.
From the time I was really little—maybe just a few months old—words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them. They made my jumbled thoughts and feelings have substance. My parents have always blanketed me with conversation. They chattered and babbled. They verbalized and vocalized. My father sang to me. My mother whispered her strength into my ear.
Every word my parents spoke to me or about me I absorbed and kept and remembered. All of them.
I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings.
But only in my head.
I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.” (p. 290)
I really liked this passage because it helped me understand Melody better. It showed the reader what was going on inside her head. It showed how smart she really is was and how she felt. How she cherished words. How she remembered everything like it was so special. It made Melody seem very thoughtful, and showed how she actually thought. Not how people thought she was. I just really liked this passage, and it helped me understand Melody, and the novel better.
I think the character development in this novel was fantastic. At the beginning of this novel Melody could not express herself well, at all. And everyone believed she was dumb. But throughout the book she went through a lot of hard things that made her change a lot. So, by the end of the novel she could communicate with people a lot better and they understood her more. She was a much stronger person. And people actually believed she was smart. At the beginning of the novel she would never go in front of the class. And would always try to go unnoticed. She would also always wish to be normal. But by the end of the novel she was sticking up for herself. Not afraid to be herself, and show people who she really was. And she proved to everyone that even through her body does not work well. Her mind is excellent and she deserves for people to be nice and treat her like a person
While reading Out of My Mind I was very surprised when the teacher said something rude about Melody in front of the whole class. While in class Mr. D was reviewing tests and he said that Melody had gotten 100 percent, to the class. Then someone told him they were too easy and should be harder. Then Mr. D laughed and said they are way too easy. If Melody Brooks is able to get 100. This surprised me a lot because I could never imagine a teacher saying this to a student. And I could not believe this would even happen in a book.
I really liked how the author Sharon Draper included a lot of Melody thoughts throughout the entire book. It made me understand the book a lot better, enjoy it a lot more, and even understand Melody much more. For example, when her classmates were secretly making fun of her. It did not just say my classmates were making fun of me. Instead it would say something like they were whispering back and forth. Pointing and laughing at me. I felt like a tornado. I was about to explode. A tornado coming. It couldn’t be stopped. This just made me understand Melody more and make the novel easier for me to understand. Also understand how Melody felt and how she tried to control herself sometimes, but couldn’t. As well as making it more enjoyable to read.
Overall, I think Out of My Mind was an excellent novel, and I would recommend it to anyone. Sharon Draper is a very well written author who made this book very enjoyable for me. Including a lot of description, suspense, and details. Which always made me wanna read on. I would rate this book a 8 out of 10. I look forward to reading more books by Sharon Draper.