Out of my mind is a novel composed by Sharon Draper. It narrates the story of Melody Brooks, an intelligent 10-year old girl with cerebral palsy. Melody has a photographic memory and is passionate about audiobooks, country music, and language, but she cannot talk. The novel’s events take place during her 5th-grade year. Melody also provides her autobiography on growing up with her cerebral palsy.
The story begins while Melody is an infant. Her parents notice that she is unable to sit upright or hold something or even play with her toys. However, her brain is quickly developing, and despite not being able to respond to her parents, she fully comprehends them. Mrs. V, their neighbor next-door believes she is an intelligent child. At the age of 5, Melody is enrolled at a special community for learning known as Spaulding Street Elementary. Some teachers such as Mrs. Tracy truly care for the students, whereas other teachers like Mrs. Billups prefer the job due to its simplistic nature.
When Melody joins the 5th grade, she together with a couple of classmates begin taking classes with other 5th graders. Some students ridicule Melody, but she manages to befriend an equally industrious classmate called Rose. Melody is granted a Medi-talker to help with her speech. The device enables her to be active in class, also enabling her to take exams without help. She manages to attain full marks on her first exam, and this causes suspicion amongst her classmates and her teacher, Mr. Dimming. This frustrates Melody, but the caring Mrs. V encourages her to work even harder. Eventually, Melody lands a slot on the Whiz Kids team and leads them to win the Southwest Ohio Regional Competition.
The team does not fully accept her despite proving her worth. On the day of their flight to Washington, D.C to participate in the competition, Mr. Dimming and the other teammates arrive early without Melody. When the flight is canceled due to bad weather, the team decides to depart on a prior flight abandoning Melody. This breaks her heart, but she resolves to continue with her studies. While seated in the car the next day, Melody’s sister, Penny, runs behind it. However, since she does not have her Medi-talker with her, she cannot alert her mother. Penny ends up being run over by the car, and she breaks her leg.
Upon confronting the team, the next day, they admit to intentionally abandoning her. They say sorry, and award her the 9th position trophy. Melody rejects it and breaks it accidentally. She then exits laughing. She gains high respect from the disabled children and gets an epiphany of what is most valuable to her, the health of those who value her. The story ends as Melody writes her experiences in studying arts and language.