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Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

I love everything weird and colorful in this world and I try to live a life that will make the world a little better once I'm gone.


My Thoughts on "Out Of My Mind"

The book Out of My Mind is unique in that it is being told from the point of view of a girl with cerebral palsy, who cannot speak. She also can't walk, stand, roll over, or feed herself. But, she can think. She can learn facts, formulate opinions, crack jokes, make decisions, and understand the world around her. And, she can feel. She has emotions like any other child her age - like any other human being. While people often talk around her, they rarely consider her opinions on the issue.

This is a powerful story, and one that will surly raise your emotions. I love a book that makes you examine your own mindset, and guide you down a path of changing it. This is the kind of book Out of My Mind is, however it is not without its faults.

The Book's Cover

The cover of this book is what initially drew me to it. Knowing nothing about this story, the fish jumping from his fishbowl reminded me of a story a friend once told me about why she doesn't have any pets.

She told me that she once had a goldfish as a kid, and she swore that she took care of it so poorly, that the fish decided to take his own life. She said she vowed that day to never have another pet.

The view of this goldfish leaping out of his fishbowl was too much for me to resist. (I've long been expecting to see Elmo's goldfish, Dorothy, do this on Sesame Street.)

Out Of My Mind - A novel by Sharon Draper

6 Things I Learned From Out of My Mind - (or was reminded)

  • Physical handicap eliminates neither intelligence nor emotions.
  • ALL kids want to have friends. ALL kids want to be a part of their own generation and form social relationships with their peers.
  • There is a social and emotional impact caused by lack of handicap accessibility.
  • If you don't challenge a child to learn and give them the opportunity go grow, they never will.
  • Technology has changed lives - and given people their lives back.
  • Educational integration does not only benefit the disabled students.
This is Nel.  She was born with cerebral palsy, but it doesn't stop her from riding.

This is Nel. She was born with cerebral palsy, but it doesn't stop her from riding.

From My Perspective

I love the idea of this book - the whole concept of being from the point of view of a girl with cerebral palsy. And, I do think that that it was effective in making the reader empathize with someone in those circumstances, however overall the book is missing something.

Perhaps it is because she is writing for a young adult audience, but I don't feel like we are getting the whole story. Throughout the book, we are experience Melody's emotions toward her situation. We see her frustrated with her situation and how much she has to depend on other people, and her frustration with her school. We see a little of her jealousy toward her sister and some other children. However, we never get an honest look at the anger she must have, and the fear.

We hear about her teachers and her aide, but we never hear about her occupational therapist, her physical therapist, or her speech language pathologist. We're told they are posting things online, so why does it not occur to her parents that there be some technology Melody could benefit from? For parents that work so hard to make sure Melody has the best opportunities afforded to her, why is it Melody who asks for a computer in order to communicate? It would seem much more probable that it be a speech language pathologist who recommends this.

Overall, the book has a bit of an after-school special feel to it. It leaves the aftertaste of well-calculated propaganda to persuade students to be friendlier to students in inclusion programs. It feels like the books was written to be sold to schools, rather than to tell the story. But regardless of its flaws, I would still recommend reading the book, as it is a quick read and it does make you think about things in a way you might not have before.

Sharon M. Draper's official site - don't miss it!

Living life, despite CP

Living life, despite CP

This Book's Greatest Flaw

It is dated.

My biggest problem with this book is that it dates itself. There are references in this book that are too specific and too trendy that they are almost completely irrelevant by the time the book was published.

For example, being released in January of 2011, the characters should not be uploading photos to myspace. Myspace is holding on by a thread and is not the place that people are interested in posting photos on. If an author wants their book to be long lasting, they would not choose a specific website to mention, but rather just say they are posting photos online. Online will likely be called 'online' for a while (surely longer than myspace will last) -or at least choose Facebook which was much more popular when the book was written, and only getting more popular.

Also, some of the slang used by Melody is absolutely absurd. I understand that Draper is trying to give Melody a youthful voice in order to show that she thinks and speaks like any other kid her age, however it doesn't work. Phrases like "it would be so tight if..." make Melody's inner monologue sound ridiculous. It immediately snaps you out of the story and makes you think, instead, about how disconnected the author is from the generation she is writing about. It sounds like how my Grandma would sound if she was trying to act like a pre-teen.

More on Out of My Mind

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Discussion Questions

  • Out of My Mind Discussion Questions
    Discussion Topics for OUT OF MY MIND The novel opens with a powerful discussion of the power of words and language. How does this help capture the reader's attention? What predictions can the reader make about the narrator of the story?

If you've read Out of My Mind, please share your thoughts - Give us YOUR opinion of Out of My Mind

What did you think of Draper's "Out of My Mind"?


Nikeria on July 27, 2015:

I read this book in school and i think melody is a nice girl and very bright i would like to meet her one day.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on August 13, 2013:

I hope this book gets read widely by children, teachers, parents, and all who are advocates for anyone with special needs. This book has layer upon layer upon layer of lessons that may generate powerful discussions. This book will stay with me for a very long time.

RuthMadison on June 20, 2012:

I wonder if the author chose to use specific references to show what life was like for her right in that moment and to bring a sharp realism? I'm definitely curious to read it now.

JoshK47 on June 20, 2012:

Sounds very interesting - thanks for sharing!

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on January 04, 2012:

That does sound like a really interesting point of view. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to be trapped inside a body that doesn't function the way it should, if much at all, but having a perfectly functioning mind. How frustrating, to say the least.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on January 03, 2012:

This sounds like a very interesting read

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on January 03, 2012:

Thanks for the great review.

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on January 03, 2012:

Nice review!

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on January 03, 2012:

This reminds me of Dalton Trumbo's book, Johnny Got His Gun. I would love to read it....

K Bechand from NY on June 30, 2011:

I haven't read it, but maybe I will ...

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on June 23, 2011:

I really enjoyed your great review of Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper.

akumar46 lm on May 17, 2011:

Great review.Thanks.

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