Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper is about the life of Melody, the story’s ten-year-old protagonist who has cerebral palsy, which makes her unable to walk or talk. However, she has a photographic memory and, despite being teased by the popular girls and being called “retarded,” she is extremely smart.
In the exposition of the story, all of her feelings are bottled up because she cannot talk. But during the rising action, her family gets her a “Medi-talker” which allows her to express her thoughts and feelings more clearly. This opens up a new world for her, enabling her to speak up in class, answer questions, defend herself, and also compete for qualification for her school’s Whiz Kids quiz team, earning a perfect score.
This novel was a page-turner for me, and I was very entertained by it. It offers a rapid pace with lots of drama, life changes, and challenges. Some of the difficulties, like bullies at school, were very relatable. Other challenges were unrelatable for most readers, which makes the story more interesting. From the everyday challenges of life in a wheelchair to a life-threatening injury of one of her family members, each chapter kept me engaged.
Despite enjoying the book overall, I was shocked and disappointed by the climax which, without giving spoilers, involved a race to catch a flight. The situation did not resolve itself the way I had hoped, leaving me surprised and sad.
I decided to read this book on March 25, which is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, and I wanted to learn about this debilitating condition. With a thoroughly engrossing plot and a heroine who stands up for herself, this book offers poignant insight into what it must be like to live with cerebral palsy. While I disliked the ending, I would still recommend this book.