Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

235 pages- a quick read but packed a powerful punch.
Written first person- inside the mind and voice of a girl with Asperger's Syndrome. Caitlin tries to understand the world around her and find closure now that her brother is no longer around to help her navigate.

Spoiler Alert: there are sad parts. Parents sometimes want to shield their children from unpleasantness. ( I learned that the hard way- from my book recommendation SLOB.) Caitlin's brother was shot and killed in a school shooting. Sadly, I feel like this is more of a reality that effects our children now, then it ever effected me growing up. When I was growing up, tragic death came by way of car accidents. (I had a few classmates and a parent of a friend killed in car accidents. So I think learning to deal with loss, finding closure, is valuable.  My sons seem to have to deal with peer deaths from suicide, drug overdoses, car accidents and now the random school violence. Unpleasantness is all around us- I personally don't see the value of shielding my kids from it- I prefer to empower them by giving them tools deal with difficult circumstances, sadness and loss.)
What I found so enjoyable ,valuable and insightful from this book was Caitlin's point of view! I wish I had read this book when I was in junior high. I had a close acquaintance with a girl with Asperger's- back then they didn't identify those syndrome, we just all knew she was different, emotionally disconnected (and wished she wasn't.)

We attended the same church- so it was my lot to be "friendly" at school. I knew it was the right thing to do, but it was still hard. I wanted very much to sit with my friends at lunch- but they avoided me, knowing this girl would seek me out.

Fast forward YEARS- my husband and I are visiting my parents, we attend the church I grew up in. This girl, now married and a mother, introduced me to her husband as "her best friend in high school". That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was full of guilt and regret. Regret that while we spent a lot of time together in junior high and high school (I would pick her up to attend church youth activities) I had never been able to understand her.

This book was amazing. It so accurately portrays a person with Asperger's. Kathryn Erskine has a daughter with Asperger's and admits, "I hope that by getting inside her head, readers will understand seemingly bizarre behavior." Which will help people avoid misunderstanding, frustrations and problems. Thank-you Kathryn!

I loved this book. I loved Caitlin's thought process- and think this book has an important mission that really could help people understand each other.


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