Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

My rating: 2/5

From "Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow."

I wanted to like this book so badly. It has such a good premise and would have been such a unique story, had it been told realistically.

My disclaimer here though is that I didn't finish the book.  I got as far as the extremely forced argument between Melody's mother and the terrible teacher who would only teach Melody's class the alphabet, and I gave up. I hate to give up on books, and I don't often do it, but I could not take this book seriously. The argument between the mother and teacher sounded like dialogue from a children's board book. Some of the descriptions are great, and I loved how the book opened. But Melody very rarely sounded like a child, (more like an adult speaking for a child); all other characters seemed like stock characters rather than people; dialogue was very stilted and forced; and there were plot holes everywhere. What especially had me scratching my head was Melody's constant talk of how she can't communicate... and then we find out that she has a very complex word board (thanks to a neighbor/babysitter, not her advocate mother who yells at everyone, telling them she knows how incredibly smart Melody is?) but for some reason doesn't really use it.  I just don't get it.  And seriously, Melody got through 6 months of this awful teacher, and her mother and father, who love Melody and pay so much attention to her, never asked her how school was going? Or they did and Melody wouldn't use her board to tell them? What?

I could possibly see this book still being good for kids, as an introduction to understanding people with disabilities. But even then, I think you could find something much better.

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