May 9, 2013
Underestimating the differently abled
Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper
Melody can't talk, walk, or feed herself. For eleven years, she's listened to conversations around her, learned songs and jokes and poetry, and words, words, words. But she isn't able to let anyone know.
Melody's life improves significantly when she gets a talking computer. At last, she can express all the thoughts and feelings that are trapped inside her. Still, it isn't enough. Other kids laugh and stare, while adults constantly underestimate her intelligence. Super-smart, with a photographic memory, Melody earns a spot on her school's Whiz Kids quiz team. Her performance gets them into the national championships, but cruelly, she is left behind when nobody tells her about a changed departure time. Heartbroken, Melody's only recourse is to carry on. A measure of satisfaction is achieved when the team only manages a ninth-place finish. Ashamed and sorry, they actually present her with the minuscule trophy, which Melody rightly rejects.
A bittersweet story.