"If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it." (Denver Post).
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow.
In this breakthrough story, reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability. @goodreads
I have a lot of say about this book. I had so many feels. I have cried and I have raged. BOOKS MAKE ME FEEL!
In this book we meet Melody. I'm going to write a good amount of excerpts about Melody.
*Melody had a pink wheelchair until she upgraded.
*Melody had a goldfish named Ollie until he jumped out of the bowl and died. (she got blamed)
*Melody got a dog she names Butterscotch by pointing at candy until her parents get it right.
*Melody has cerebral-palsy.
*Melody can't speak, walk, eat on her own or take herself to the bathroom.
*Melody had a doctor tell her mom that she has brain damage. (bastard)
*Melody has a photographic memory.
*Melody tells the story in her mind through-out the book.
*Melody is fictional but there are many Melody's.
*Melody has a wonderful neighbor named Violet who taught her to do things she couldn't.
*Melody has a very loving mom and dad.
*Melody has a new baby sister.
*Melody has a wonderful aide, Catherine that helps her in school.
*Melody goes to school with a couple of @ssholes.
Here is a little more about Melody.
I have no idea how I untangled the complicated process of words and thought, but it happened quickly and naturally. By the time I as two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings.
But only in my head.
I have never spoken one single word. I am almost eleven years old.
When I sleep, I dream. And in my dreams I can do anything. I get picked first on the playground for games. I can run so fast! I take gymnastics, and I never fall off the balance beam. I know how to square-dance, and I'm good at it. I call my friends on the phone, and we talk for hours. I whisper secrets. I sing.
When I wake up in the morning, it's always sort of a letdown as reality hits me. I have to be fed and dressed so I can spend another long day in the happy-face room at Spaulding Street School.
Melody is smart as a whip. Like I said before, she has a photographic memory. But no one knows this. She memorizes the shows she watches on Discovery Channel. Well, she memorizes everything. I would love to have a photographic memory.
Melody's next door neighbor, Violet, would watch her when she was little while her parents worked. She taught Melody that she could roll over while she was on the floor. Melody knew everything Violet was saying to her. She learned from Violet. When Melody got a little older, Violet taught her how to fall out of her wheelchair correctly if someone forgot to strap her in, so she wouldn't bash her head. Violet made a board with as many words written down so Melody could point to certain words and people could sort of communicate with her. It wasn't much but it was something.
I felt bad for Melody at school because she was in that one class with all of the handicapped kids and they weren't really taught much of anything. Melody was too bright for all of that but couldn't tell anyone. One day though, the school decided the kids should start being put in the normal classes for one day a week or so. Melody is so happy! This is where she thinks she meets a good friend in a girl named Rose and she does for the most part. Rose just messed up a couple of times. But she also meets the evil bitches, Claire and Molly. I will get to those @ssholes in a few minutes.
One day Melody sees someone with a new lap top and she starting thinking about Stephen Hawking. She manages to give enough hints to Catherine about getting something just for Melody. They start searching online and they find the Medi-Talker! Catherine gets all of the information for Melody to take home to her parents.
Melody is so excited when she gets to Violets and they research the Medi-Talker more so that when Melody's mom comes over to get her she sits down at the computer and they all discuss trying to get one. It turns out the insurance will pay for half of it. So they have to go through all of this stuff and paperwork and signatures and more paperwork and then FINALLY it gets there!
Violet and Melody work on it until her parents get home. They were okay with it because of all the excitement. It was such a special moment. I cried, yeah. Melody got to actually speak to her parents for the first time.
"Hi, Dad. Hi, Mom. I am so happy."
Mom gets all teary-eyed, and her nose gets red. She is looking at me all soft and gooey.
When I think about it, I realize I have never, ever said any words directly to my parents. So I push a couple of buttons, and the machine speaks the words I've never been able to say.
"I love you."
Mom completely loses it. She bubbles up with tears and grabs dad. I think he might be sniffling back a couple of tears himself.
But he has recorded it all.
At one point in one of the classes, Melody wants to try out for the Quiz Team. She was the highest one to score when they did a sample test. Mr. D. was reluctant at first but apologized later. I thought I was going to have to smack him too. Anyway, Melody's little Medi-Talker also prints out anything she types if she wants it to so she can participate in class and all kinds of things.
Let me tell you, these bitches named Claire and Molly mouth off about Melody from the get go and I wanted to beat the shit out of them. I DO NOT TOLERATE PEOPLE THAT SAY BAD THINGS TO HANDICAPPED PEOPLE, ANY KIND OF ABUSER (PEOPLE & ANIMAL) ANIMAL KILLERS, PEOPLE KILLERS, PEDOPHILES. IT'S SAD THAT I CAN PROBABLY GO ON AND ON. But, I digress. Here is just a little excerpt from them that made me want to snatch them up out of their chairs. I found the perfect gif for that too.
When we arrive at Mr. Dimming's room, a group of kids from my history class are already there, whispering together and going over note cards. They look up in surprise when Catherine wheels me in.
"Hi, Melody," Rose says. "What are you doing here?" Her voice doesn't sound as friendly as usual.
"Quiz team," I type.
"She can't be on the team," I hear Claire whisper to Jessica, wrinkling up her nose. "She's from the retard room!"
Molly thinks that really funny. She screeches like a blue jay when she laughs.
THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF THAT!
Anyhoo, Melody gets into the group and they are all going to DC after they win the first round. Well, lets just say some stuff happens and they didn't win. And some other horrible things happen but we won't talk about that, you can read all of that.
I was so proud of Melody though. She held her head up as high as she could and told the whole class off in her own way.
I totally loved this story. I love Melody. I love all of the wonderful people in the book. I loved how the author told the story. I just LOVED IT, K!
And to think, I might never have read this book if I didn't get the paperback from Amazon for $5 and some change for a goodreads challenge. I thought it sounded good but I had no idea how good!
AMAZON LINK TO THE BOOK: