Author: Kathryn Erskine
I’ll admit it. I totally judge a book by its cover. I was perusing the juvenile fiction shelves at the library the other day, and this one stood out because of its simplistic nature. The story itself, however, was far from simple.
Mockingbird takes place shortly after a Columbinesque shooting in which a teacher and a couple of students were killed. One of the students who died was Caitlin’s brother Devon. Caitlin is the main character – a young girl who has Asperger’s Syndrome – who struggles to understand people and their feelings. She’s suddenly thrown in to an extraordinary situation where she has to learn to process what happened and learn to help those around her.
As someone who has had someone with Asperger’s in her life, it’s an interesting read to get an understanding of how an Aspie thinks. Everyday emotions are difficult to understand, but trying to make sense of people’s reactions to such a traumatic event must be even more so.
At one point, Caitlin’s therapist is concerned she doesn’t understand that her brother is dead. So Caitlin thinks she must make it clear she Gets It so she refers to her brother as Devon-who-is-now-dead. Caitlin’s father is obviously very overcome with grief after losing his son and has a very difficult time dealing with his daughter who doesn’t understand how painful it is to hear her call him that repeatedly.
My only complaint with the book is that it ends far too soon. It’s an awesome book for children because it gives an insight in to someone who thinks differently, but the story is so unique I wish there was an opportunity to explore it in more depth.