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Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
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Mockingbird (edition 2011)

by Kathryn Erskine

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,101None7,518 (4.33)104
Member:judyphilip
Title:Mockingbird
Authors:Kathryn Erskine
Info:Puffin (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

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Caitlin is an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger's. Her brother Devon is usually the only one who understands her, helps her, and doesn't think she is weird. One day during a school shooting, Devon is shot in the chest and did not survive the damage it caused upon his heart. Before the school shooting, Devon and his dad were working on an Eagle Scout Project. However, Devon's dad is always sad and doesn't even want to look at the project, which was a chest. Caitlin wants closure for her and her father and she thinks the way to get there is by finishing the chest. After awhile, Caitlin's father finally feels ready. With the help of Mrs. Brook, the school counselor, and finishing the Eagle Scout project, Caitlin and her father slowly become happier. I enjoyed this book very much. It wasn't all happy but it was still a good read. I liked how the author would include real life references in the story, that was a nice extra touch. This book was also very good because it kind of gave the point of view of a person with Asperger's. Entertaining, lovely, and very moving are the characteristics of this book. ( )
  tanniciaF.B4 | Mar 20, 2014 |
Mocking bird; the story is about a young girl that has aspergers !! but when her life fell apart (her brother dies) she is stuck in a world that she doesn't get so she is on a guest for closure as thats the cure for everyone. amazing story but the beginning i found was a bit confusing but once i got the story i cried and cried its amazing in its own ways !! and i feel so sad for Catlin!! I've read the story around 5 times and it never got old ( )
  HeidiGreen | Mar 2, 2014 |
This chapter book was so beautiful and I very much cried at the end. The main character of Mockingbird has Asberger's and the story centers around her struggle with the sudden death of her brother. I loved how this book put you in the head of someone who deals with condition, creating wonderful empathy in the reader and illuminating the reader as to what living with Asberger's may be like. Because much of this book takes place at school and the main character is about 10 years old, this book would be really good for 5th and 6th graders who have a classmate with this sort of condition in their class. ( )
  LoisHaight | Feb 17, 2014 |
As someone who has Asperger's, 10-year-old Caitlin has trouble understanding why people act a certain way and how to react to them in turn. She would always turn to her older brother Devon to explain things and situations for her, but Devon dies in a tragedy that rocks their entire community. So not only is Caitlin left without her most trusted friend and big brother, she must learn how to deal with the way her father is now acting, the way others treat her in school, learning empathy, and most important of all, getting to Closure.

If you haven't heard of this book yet, just to tell you, it won the National Book Award for young people's literature. And let me tell you, it certainly deserved it. Through Erskine's book we see the world through Caitlin's eyes and mind. She doesn't Get It (as she would say) most of the time, as she can't understand certain emotions or reactions. She has to work really hard to see how another person is feeling and how to make them feel better, instead of worse. It's very illuminating to see how a person with Asperger's might view the world, and gives us a tool to understand them better and the way they see things better.

Despite her lack of understanding others, Caitlin is remarkably intelligent and an incredible artist. Throughout the book, Erskine uses Caitlin's artistic talents as a device—her refusal to use color goes hand in hand with the way she likes to see the world. Black and white are much easier to deal with than colors that can run together and blur. But as she begins to learn empathy and friendship, as she begins to find the ever-illusive Closure, Caitlin begins to see that color might be useful.

What really struck me about this novel was the rawness and realness of everything. Erskine does not really censor much, but not in an inappropriate way. What I mean is, Caitlin just reports things as she sees them, bluntly and accurately—this is especially true when she describe her father's violent reaction when he hears the news of his son's death and his subsequent grieving (mostly detachment, refusal to speak of Devon, and lots of crying), and how she herself is dealing with the loss of the only person who seemed to understand how to talk to her. We also see things that Caitlin misses. She has incredible skills of observation, and doesn't shy away from telling us everything—actions and gestures that she doesn't understand are not lost on us, and I felt it all the more.

We also see the way a tragedy can affect everyone involved, even those who are related to the ones who caused it. It's heartbreaking, but the quest for Closure is a bold and valiant one that Caitlin tries to share with the entire community.

The mockingbird title comes from Devon and Caitlin's shared love for the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. Throughout, Caitlin keeps returning to this, to her nickname Scout that Devon gave her, and to all of their likeness to the three main characters in the film and book (Jem, Scout and Atticus). In the end, Devon is the symbolic mockingbird—dead despite his innocence, but living on in the memory of his family and of his community.

Incredibly moving and poignant (I use that word not as a cliche; I mean it with all my heart), Caitlin shows us a world that we mostly try to ignore. She shows us ways to deal with grief, both good and bad, but all real; after death and tragedy, we must find our way to Closure, and to living again. ( )
  Tahleen | Feb 16, 2014 |
This was another one of my favorite books. The story is so interesting and touches your heart. It is about a young girl named Caitlin who loses her brother in a school shooting. It is about her struggles and how she gains closure. A beautiful novel. ( )
  tarannum93 | Dec 12, 2013 |
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In the hopes that we may all understand each other better.
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It looks like a one-winged bird crouching in the corner of our living room.
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Book description
[From back cover]:  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 reads 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.
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Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

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