Emily Wegener: Letter Essay #7 – Out of my Mind

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

“Out of My Mind” Letter Essay

Dear Readers of the Blog,

Recently, I completed “Out of my Mind,” a realistic fiction novel written by Sharon M. Draper. Draper is also the author of, “Tears of a Tiger,” “Battle of Jericho,” “Forged by Fire,” and many other young adult novels. This book was published in 2010, and consists of 295 pages. This astounding story was the New York Times Bestselling Novel for nine weeks, and won numerous awards, including the 2011 Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award. This book has gained lots of popularity among teens and adults alike and spent over 18 months on the New York Times Bestseller List. I find the plot and storyline in this book to be so inspirational and captivating that I find myself re-reading this book over and over again. It truly gives the reader a deeper appreciation for the things that we take for granted in our lives, and forces us to look beyond what we can see at the surface of people.
“Out of my Mind” is about an eleven year old girl named Melody, living with Cerebral Palsy (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cerebral-palsy/home/ovc-20236549 -hyperlink wasn’t working-) . When people first look at Melody they just see a small girl in a wheelchair, unable to walk, unable to talk, and someone who is not entirely in control of their own body. In school, Melody is placed in room H-5, the place for students who are deemed not socially adept enough to be a part of regular schooling. The teachers think that because Melody is not able to communicate well, she is not capable of progressing past a standard kindergarten curriculum, but little do they know, Melody is a genius. She has almost has an obsession with words and doesn’t understand how people can just “Throw them out” so easily. Throughout this novel, she struggles to make friends and convey her intelligence and feelings towards others.

I think that the author came up with the perfect title for this story. “Out of my Mind” fits the book so well because the book is simply about Melody trying to get “Out of her Mind.” It is interesting as well as heartbreaking to see her being openly made fun of in front of her peers, because they don’t think she can understand them, which literally drives her insane. Until she is given a communication device later in the story (which she names Elvitra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qK-9eIF2yI, after her favorite song), all she can really do is listen and just take it. After seeing many doctors who all say she needs special help, and should even be sent away to be taken care of, her Mother is the only one who really knows how smart she is. Being as restricted as Melody is would drive any person crazy.

I liked the way the main character handles all of the hate she received with such grace. In the story, there are two girls, Claire and Molly, who endlessly mock and torment Melody. They constantly make fun of the way Melody moves and communicates, and follow her around and imitate her. Even though they are so mean to her, Melody is always kind towards them and never insults them back. I think having to deal with Cerebral Palsy and always being underestimated made her a stronger, more patient person in the end.

I think the Sharon M. Draper’s writing is similar to the work of R.J Palacio, author of “Wonder.” Both women are writing from perspectives we don’t hear from a lot in young adult literature. Apart from being amazing writers, they cover ground that is extremely difficult to tackle when you don’t go through it firsthand, and are very inspirational and give the person reading a new outlook on life.

The passage of writing I like best in “Out of my Mind,” is conveniently located on the very first page.
“I’m surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions.”
“Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate.
Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippocampus.
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….”

I enjoyed this passage of writing so much because it is a great introduction into the story and gives the reader a good idea of what’s going on inside of Melody’s head before we even know that she has Cerebral Palsy. Also, this passage ends the book as kind of a recap, which I think is a very smart choice on the author’s part.

Overall, I would have to give this book a 9 out of 10, and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes realistic fiction, and the book “Wonder,” by R.J Palacio.

Sincerely, Emily Wegener


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2 thoughts on “Emily Wegener: Letter Essay #7 – Out of my Mind

  1. Emily,
    I really liked reading your letter essay, it was very detailed and well-written. I enjoyed reading your introduction. The introduction included good details about both the author and the book. Good job!

  2. Dear Emily,

    I liked the links you put in. You were very descriptive and I enjoyed reading it.


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