Out of My Mind


Melody Brooks is an eleven-year-old girl who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Her parents have done everything they can to help her live a normal life, but life is often frustrating for Melody since she cannot speak, move, or communicate her wishes. As a result, Melody has to fight to get her wishes. At age five, Melody is even diagnosed as profoundly retarded. Despite this, Melody's mom enrolls her in public school to get the education she needs. However, the class she is put in is like a baby class, learning the same things every day. Melody is frustrated by this. Her neighbor, Mrs. V., is a kind, but tough woman. She pushes Melody to do the best she can. When Melody was three, Mrs. V. wasn't impressed for Melody to rely on her parents for everything. Because of this, Mrs. V. forced her to learn how to crawl and roll on the ground. She even taught Melody how to catch herself whenever she fell from her wheelchair. These things helped Melody become self-sufficient, but she continues to be reliant on her parents to help feed her and help her go to the bathroom. When Melody turns eight, her mother becomes pregnant. During this time, Melody overhears them talking about the new baby and their fears that it will suffer the same disabilities. Melody feels ashamed when she hears this. However, Melody is happy when the baby, Penny, is born perfectly healthy. Melody feels jealous as Penny grows and matures since she'll never be able to do the things Penny can do. However, Melody loves her little sister, and the pleasures Melody brings to her parents. When Melody enters fifth grade, she gets a communication device that allows her to talk with other people. At school, her new teacher starts an inclusion program that allows the special needs students to participate in the standard classes. Melody also gets an aide, Catherine, to help her. Melody enjoys her classes but dislikes the way other students assume that she is stupid. Two girls named Molly and Claire bully Melody and call her a no good lying retarded soul. They think that Melody is so twisted and backwards that she can't hear them call her dumb. But Melody can hear and understand everything. Even her teacher, Mr. Dimming, believes that Melody cannot participate, but is surprised that not only does Melody join, but passes a test exam of a trivia competition with a perfect score. Melody is then involved in the qualifying exam to be part of the trivia game and once again surprises everyone when she makes the team. Melody then helps the team win the qualifying competition to earn a trip to Washington D.C. for the national competition. However, on the day the group is to fly to Washington, Melody learns that her flight has been canceled due to weather, but the rest of the team has made an earlier flight without her. The next day, Melody insists on going to school. It is raining, and Melody's mother is sick, tired, and frustrated. As they are about to leave, however, Melody realizes that Penny has gotten into the path of the car. Therefore, Melody kicks, screams, and hits to warn her mother. Her mother fails to understand, and Penny is affected by the car and injured. Melody blames herself for not being able to inform her mom, even though everyone, especially Mrs. V., tells her it's not her fault. Melody is terrified that Penny will have a brain injury like her. In the end, Melody learns that Penny is going to be okay, and just has a cast on her leg. Her class also apologizes for their lack of being considerate towards her by giving her their 10th place trophy. Melody in reply says, "No you keep it." then knocks the trophy off her little tray and it breaks into 7 little shards.

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