Summary and book reviews of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Out of My Mind

by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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About this Book

Book Summary

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. She's the smartest kid in her whole school - but no one knows it, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write. Melody's story is one full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school - but no one knows it. Most people - her teachers and doctors included - don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows... but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind - that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice... but not everyone around her is ready to hear it. From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.

Excerpt
Out of My Mind

I'm surrounded by thousands of words. Maybe millions.
Cathedral. Mayonnaise. Pomegranate.
Mississippi. Neapolitan. Hippopotamus.
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.

From the time I was really little - maybe just a few months old - words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them. They made my jumbled thoughts and feelings have substance.

My parents always blanketed me with conversation. They chattered and babbled. They verbalized and vocalized. My father sang to me. My mother whispered strength into my ear. Every word my parents spoke to me or about me I absorbed and kept and remembered. All of them.


I have no...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. 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? What inferences can be made about the thought processes of the narrator's mind?

  2. In a world that does not work for her, what seems to cause the biggest frustrations for Melody?

  3. Describe Melody's parents. How do they learn to communicate with Melody and help her to overcome everyday problems? Why are those efforts sometimes a complete failure?

  4. How does Melody feel about school? How does she fit in with her classmates and what makes her different from the rest of the children in H-5? What would be Melody's ideal school situation?

  5. ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Accompanying Melody on this journey is a deeply rewarding experience. More than anything else, Out of My Mind is an examination of the spirit of one incredible girl - a fierce and determined and trapped spirit - and her search to find a way to share that spirit with the world. It is a spirit that is easy to love. And Melody is a girl who is easy to love, too.   (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).

Full Review Members Only (526 words).

Media Reviews

Shelf Awareness

It's impossible to close this book without thinking about the world differently.

The Washington Post - Mary Quattlebaum

Details such as the messy particulars of Melody's daily routine, her anger over being babied intellectually and the arguments between her loving but strained parents add verisimilitude to this important novel.

Publishers Weekly

A horrific event at the end nearly plunges the story into melodrama and steers the spotlight away from Melody's determination, which otherwise drives the story.

Kirkus Reviews

This book is rich in detail of both the essential normalcy and the difficulties of a young person with cerebral palsy.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kids will benefit from being introduced to Melody and her gutsy, candid, and compelling story. It speaks volumes and reveals the quiet strength and fortitude it takes to overcome disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them.

Booklist

Starred Review. Uplifting and upsetting, this is a book that defies age categorization, an easy enough read for upper-elementary students yet also a story that will enlighten and resonate with teens and adults.

Reader Reviews

Beckyh

A look at "disability"
Melody, eleven years old, is brilliant. She also has spastic bilateral quadriplegia (cerebral palsy), is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak. When she gets a Medi-Talker that allows her to communicate, her life changes. OUT OF MY MIND tells ...   Read More

LIZZIE

awesome
I didn't like reading, but this book changed my life on reading; now I love to read!

Kelie

Inspirational
This book is a very inspirational book, because it talks about a girl that has cerebral palsy, and how life might be or is for a someone that has that. It's good for 5th-7th graders depending on maturity and reading level. It's not hard to read but ...   Read More

Hope

Out of my mind
I think this book is excellent. My favorite part was when Rose became her friend. And the sad part was when they left her and didn't tell her and she was sad. But I really like the book and I told all my friends they should read it and see what ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Melody has cerebral palsy. So does Mark, my camp counselor friend. Both of them are in wheelchairs, and are unable to walk, and need aid to talk and eat. But one of the children at the camp where I worked has cerebral palsy and he can walk and talk and eat just fine.

So then, what is cerebral palsy exactly?

Cerebral palsy is a general term for a group of motor conditions that develop in-utero or shortly after birth. Cerebral means brain and palsy means a disorder of movement or posture. Cerebral palsy refers to damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle tone, and it can cause increased muscle tone, reduced muscle tone or some combination of both. Where the muscle tone problems are localized - legs, arms, face, etc ...

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