Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Publisher: Puffin
Publication date: April 2010
ISBN: 9780142417751
Source: ARC provided by publisher


Kaitlyn and her father are trying to deal with the loss of her brother Devon.  Things are hard for Kaitlyn who has Aspergers, because Devon was the one who helped her know what would annoy or just be weird if she did.  Now, as she struggles to make friends and come to closure with Devon's death, Kaitlyn is unsure how she should act and if she can help her father as well.

Things I Liked:
I loved this book.  Seeing life through the very black and white view of Kaitlyn was so real!  I loved how she would try to understand nuances and the often confusing behavior of people who say one thing and mean another or how she couldn't pick up on body language.  It was interesting to realize how many stupid and ridiculous things people do or say that don't really mean what they intend it to.  I adored Kaitlyn, and wanted her to succeed so badly.  She felt just like she might be the girl down the street.  I also really loved the way she tried to help herself and her dad deal with their grief.  Just beautiful.  No wonder it was the National Book Award winner.  Here are some of my favorite parts:

I look at the walls and not much has changed except that the mad face on the Facial Expressions Chart now has a mustache.  I know because I have looked at that chart about a million times to try to figure out which emotion goes with each face.  I'm not very good at it.  I have to use the chart because when I look at real faces I don't Get It.  Mrs. Brooke says people have a hard time understanding me because I have Asperger's so I have to try extra hard to understand them and that means working on emotions.  I'd rather work on drawing.  p 10-11 of ARC
A part of Devon will always be with you.
Which part, I wonder.  No parts of his body are left because he was cremated.  That means burned up into ashes.  
Can you feel him?
I look around the air.  I look down at my hands.  Are parts of Devon scraping me?  Is that what I'm supposed to feel?  The heat is blowing from the vent in the ceiling and I feel that.  But that's only air from the furnace.  Or does it have Devon in it?  Where do you go when you get burned up and turn into smoke in the air?  Maybe you get sucked into furnace systems and blown out through the vents.  I shrug. p 15 of ARC
Sometimes I read the same books over and over and over.  What's great about books is that the stuff inside doesn't change.  People say you can't judge a book by its cover but that's not true because it says right n the cover what's inside.  And no matter how many times you read that book the words and pictures don't change.  You can open and close books a million times and they stay the same.  They look the same.  The say the same words.  The charts and pictures are the same colors.  Books are not like people.  Books are safe. p 34 of ARC
When a teacher says she wants you to do something that means you should do it.  It's the same as saying you have to do it.
Well why didn't she say that?
It's a nice way of saying it.
No it's not.  It's a confusing way of saying it.  And she should say PLEASE if she's trying to be nice.
Would that have helped?  If she'd said please?
Maybe.  Should I share that with her?
Why don't you let me talk with her instead. p41 of ARC
Things I Didn't Like:
I don't know, I really just enjoyed it.  I know some people didn't like the book told through Kaitlyn's eyes - I guess it's more a personal preference.

Rules by Cynthia Lord (which I've really got to read soon)

Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko

s-factor: none
that I recall

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->
nothing really graphic, but the way Devon died is pretty tragic

Overall rating: *****

What do you think about having the person with a disorder or condition as the narrator? Do you prefer it being a family member instead?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. Thanks for letting us know about this book. I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a few years ago and thought it was very interesting and enlightening to see the world through the eyes of someone with Aspergers. This sounds really good for the same reason. The Curious Incident wasn't for children (lots of swear words!) so I'm glad to see this is for kids.

    Great find. I'll look for it on my next library trip.

    I've just bookmarked your site so that I'll remember to come back often!

    Betsy Parkes

  2. We have our Scholastic Book Fair going on at our elementary school, and everytime I pass this on the shelf I stop and think,"I need to buy this..." Tomorrow, it will happen!

  3. Betsy, welcome! I've never read Curious Incident, mostly because of the swearing. This one is perfect for kids. BTW, your site looks fantastic! I've added it to the Second Opinions on my side bar :)

    Melissa, I really hope you enjoy it - I think its fantastic!

  4. Glad you liked it. (I did, too, though not as much as Out of My Mind...) Though, I have to admit, I hate that cover. The hardback version was SO much better.

  5. Melissa, I've been waiting for Out of My Mind for a little while now. How funny you don't like that cover, cause I kind of like this one better than the other. I thought the hardcover was rather dull. :)


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