Thursday, December 01, 2016

Out of My Mind

Out of my Mind
by Sharon M. Draper

publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010

What is it like to be trapped in a body that will not do what your mind wills it to do? When physical movement is completely arrested but the mind races with these exhilarating ideas and thoughts, which shall forever remain uncommunicated?

Melody is eleven years old and has not spoken a single word. She has a photographic memory and a brilliant mind that observes and records everything, non-stop, with no delete button. She also has cerebral palsy, which affects body movement and muscle co-ordination, making her unable to talk or walk, leaving her frustrated.

As we see the world through Melody's eyes, we realize that she is not entirely resentful or enraged by her situation, but is in fact trying her very best to communicate her thoughts and share all that she knows and feels, with such a positive spirit that it will put us to shame for complaining about our petty problems.

The resident 11-year old reader simply could not put the book down. It made her want to learn more about cerebral palsy and understand what it is like to just not be able to talk or walk or do the things we take for granted everyday, and yet be filled with so much positive energy and enthusiasm in the mind that has no way of coming out. And, it made her so angry that her classmates were hurtful and unkind thinking Melody cannot hear or understand what they were saying. Wrong! Melody can, and it is heart-breaking.

Eventually, with Medi-Talker, Melody is able to communicate, albeit one finger-movement at a time, only to realize how odd it all seems to her friends who think this is too weird. Ultimately, Melody realizes she can never be what is considered "normal", never be like her other friends who have all their faculties working as designed. This self-acceptance allows her to let us revel in her sense of humor and loving spirit.

Melody would not want us to feel sorry for her and neither will we dare. What we do end up doing is cheering for her and respecting her fierce dignity and wanting to be someone like Mrs.V, Melody's mentor and life coach, who loves her deeply and champions for her success in life.

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