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 in order to get the education she needs. 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 normal. 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 she 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 normal 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. Even her teacher, Mr. Dimming, assumes that she cannot participate, but is surprised that not only does Melody participate, but passes a test exam of a trivia competition with a perfect score. Melody then participates in the qualifying exam to be part of the trivia competition and once again surprises everyone when she makes the team. Melody then helps the team win the qualifying competition to win 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 cancelled 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 in order to warn her mother. Her mother fails to understand and Penny is hit by the car and injured. Melody blames herself for not being able to warn her mother, even though everyone, especially Mrs. V., tells her it's not her fault. In the end, Melody learns that Penny is going to be fine. Her class also apologizes for their lack of being considerate towards her.

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