Monday, February 10, 2014


kathryn erskine
published 2010

In Caitlin's world, everything is black or white.  Things are good or bad.  Anything in between is confusing.  That's the stuff Caitlin's older brother, Devon, has always explained.  But now Devon's dead and Dad is no help at all.  Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger's, she doesn't know how.  When she read the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs.  In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white - the world is full of colors - messy and beautiful.

This is one of those books where the author has too much going on in their head and tries to put it down on paper.  Then because of the subjects she touches on, school shootings and Asperger's the book is lauded to be amazing and wins awards.  It becomes The Book Everyone Should Read.

I don't think that's untrue.  I think that Mockingbird does give us a good insight into what it means to have Asperger's, but kind of in a way that the author read a lot of books about what having Asperger's is like and then put it into her fictional setting.  At times it feels incredibly contrived.  Caitlin never feels like a real person to me, but like a caricature of a child with Asperger's.  But of course, I have no experience with anyone with Asperger's so I'm not a good judge.  It's just to me, Caitlin felt like a made up character (which, of course, she was) who never became more than that to me.

In a sort of acknowledgement or afterword, Erksine talks about the Virginia Tech shootings and how close that was to her home, how it affected her.  She wanted to write a book that talked about it.  I don't know that this feeling came across in this book.  The school shooting was not something discussed at length in the book because it wasn't something that Caitlin necessarily understood as anything but The Day Our Life Fell Apart.  We were privy to the process of dealing with losing a sibling and at a weaker view losing a child, but not really what it meant after that.

I think maybe I would have liked the book more had it just been Caitlin dealing with everyday life and counseling.  Wading through mainstream school and life with a single father who seems to not really know how to deal with her.  The introduction of a school shooting seemed unnecessary.  It didn't bring anything relevant to the table.

1 comment:

  1. I love this book! I have Asperger's and it was the first book I read with a female aspie. She could have lost her brother any way, the point being she lost the only person who understood her and treated her "real". You can read my review if you like:


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