‘Out of My Mind:’ A story of friendship, acceptance, and change

Out of My Mind: A story of friendship, acceptance, and change

by Izzy Roth, Freelance Writer

Melody Brooks is someone we should all look up to. She had gone through more challenges at 11 years old than most of us will experience in our whole life. No matter what gets thrown her way, Melody never loses sight of what she wants or who she is.

“Out of My Mind” is a young adult novel by Sharron M. Draper that never fails to impress. It is centered around an 11 year old girl, Melody Brooks, who is suffering from severe cerebral palsy. Despite the fact that Melody can not walk, talk, or move most of her body, she is extremely smart and very much capable of thinking for herself. She is extremely strong and courageous. Her experiences filled me with bravery and I was overcome with sympathy by the end of the book. 

Unfortunately, most people don’t remember that Melody’s brain works perfectly fine and she is often treated like a statue that just sits there all day. Draper builds Melody’s character through these challenges and I got the chance to grow alongside her. Reading about her struggle also helped me to see these challenges through a different perspective. Since the story is told through Melody’s perspective, I could really see the impact of others’ actions and why it is so important to watch how we treat others. 

Draper spends the majority of her writing space focused on the character. Although the story is focused on Melody, each character is crucial to the story and goes through their own journey. One specific character, a new acquaintance of Melody, is a great example of this. To avoid spoilers, I will just call her Sally. “Sally” starts off as a protagonist, she is very kind and welcoming when Melody joins her Music class. She never had a problem and is often positive throughout the whole story, until the end. The character’s actions reveal some of her true feelings and I could see how her character had been slowly developing over the course of the story.

These fantastic character developments are crucial in the character relationships, another key factory to this story. As Melody meets new people throughout the story, she develops a special bond with each and every one of them. Each relationship is filled with so many emotions that they felt so real to me, as if I was a part of them too. Whether they were positive or negative, each character added something special and helped to shape Melody’s story. 

The story being told in Melody’s perspective allows for an intense amount of detail, one that would not make sense in any other book. Due to the fact that Melody can’t move on her own, she pays very close attention to everything around her and picks up details others would often miss. For example, colors are very important to Melody and she pays very close attention to them. So many descriptive words are written about each color and I could see them so clearly in my head. Draper used the details in a way that helped bring the story to life and made me feel like I was in the moment.

The whole is pulled together by Draper’s untraditional writing style and organization. Organization and timeline wise, the story starts off with a series of different memories, creating a sort of summary of Melody’s life. While this is only a short portion of the story, it is crucial in explaining why Melody is the way she is and how past experiences have affected her. The story then picks up during Melody’s fifth grade year in Elementary school and continues on day by day from there. In addition, the overall plot is unique and unexpected. The way that Draper writes the end of the book and throws in unexpected moments is what really made the book for me. I did not know what was going to happen but I was just so invested in their story that I had to keep reading.

Throughout this novel, Draper took me on an emotional rollercoaster that I wished would never stop. Her writing style and attention to detail bring Melody’s words to life while bringing butterflies to my stomach. She tells a beautiful message about kindness and awareness that no one is too old or young to hear. Out of My Mind is a story of growth and friendship that reminded me about what truly mattered.