Friday, April 13, 2012

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Imagine the agony of being trapped; then, imagine that you're trapped inside your own body. I think this fear is nearly universal - it's why we fear major illness and why we fear aging. But this is a juvenile story. And perhaps what makes it "Out of My Mind" so extraordinary is that it's not a sugar-coated kids story about a kid with a disability - it's an honest, sometimes painful tale that's still utterly lovable.

Draper does an amazing job presenting the reader with the funny, smart and utterly amazing story of Melody. Since birth, she's been stuck inside her own head by cerebral palsy and, despite a photographic memory and amazing mental abilities, as a fifth-grader Melody is still being taught the ABC's. Only a few people recognize Melody's talents, and even they don't fully understand what a gem is hidden under the spasms and grunts - until a computerized aid helps opens the lines of communications for the very first time.

What I loved most about this story is that while the medi-talker brings the kind of  wonderful change that Melody has been dreaming about, all life's challenges don't disappear once she can hold a conversation. There's more to the story, both good and bad.

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