Writer: Kathryn Erskine
Pages: 261 p
Bought at: Kramer’s Books & Afterwords, Washington, D.C (USD 6,99)
Caitlin is a ten years old little girl with an Asperger’s syndrome. She lived with her Dad and older brother, Devon, who was her only friend in the world. Things are not easy for Caitlin because she can’t feel and understand emotions like most people do. That’s why making friends becomes one of the hardest things in her life, because Caitlin goes to public school where other kids don’t have special condition like her.
Things get more difficult and complicated when Caitlin lost Devon, who became one of the victims in a school shooting. Caitlin started to feel that her life fell apart. She lost her brother, her only friend, and to make things worse, her dad is in an emotional state that she can’t even understand. She can’t fathom the sadness, crying under showers, desperation and frustration her father experienced.
The only person Caitlin can turn into is her counselor at school, Mrs. Brook. Mrs.Brook said that Caitlin has to try making friends. It’s a really challenging experience for Caitlin, although she finally found a friend in a most unusual circumstances. One day, Caitlin heard a word “closure”, and she decided maybe that’s one thing everybody needs desperately. She decided to just try to find a “closure” to fix her life and everybody’s life. But what’s exactly a closure and how can she find one? Sadly, Caitlin realized that this time her dictionary is not really helping.
Mockingbird is a very heartbreaking book, since it’s told from Caitlin’s point of view. Her lack of emotions, desperate need to understand what everybody feels and how to deal with that feeling, it’s all very overwhelming and makes me want to hug her tight. Caitlin’s language is very simple and pure, although she is a very clever kid. Honesty is one of her strengths, so most of her sentences are blatantly honest. Like when she talked to a bully in her school, who always being rude to everybody because he thinks nobody likes him.
“I’m mean to people because they’re mean to me”
“Well maybe if you’re nice to people they’ll be nice to you” (p 208)
Simple, yet spot on.
This book also tells me more about the Autism Spectrum, difference between Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The writer was inspired to write this book because of the shooting incident in a school in Virginia (2007), and how difficult it was for the families of the victims to deal with this violent tragedy. Especially those who have special needs children. And Erskine captured her inspiration beautifully in this amazing book.