'Mockingbird' by Katherine Erskine
Pub April 2010 978-0142417751 Penguin
10 year old Caitlin has terrible trouble Getting It sometimes because she has Asperger's Syndrome, a mild type of autism which vastly limits her social skills (particularly interaction,) and means she struggles with coping with and reading emotion; since the shooting of her brother Devon, this made coping with it even worse for both her and her dad. Previously, her mum died of cancer, so her dad had only Caitlin to turn to at home and vice versa. However, at school Caitlin had been seeing a counsellor called Mrs Brook, who helped her a lot with many of her problems induced by Asperger's, but when Caitlin asked for how to achieve closure, she cpuldn't say. Mrs Brook said that she'd have to find her own way, because different people find it in different ways- so Caitlin tried to find a way with the help of her newly found friend, Michael, who was only about five. She realised the way would be to finish the chest that lay in the corner of their lounge, covered in a sheet that her dad didn't dare to touch. It was the chest that Devon had started for his Eagle Scout project, but never finished now he wasn' there... so they finished the chest, and found they were able to move on in a way that changed Caitlin. Now she could use colours in her pride and talent of art, when before she had to use black and white because it was clearer to her (one of her specific habits.) And now, she had a friend!
This was a book that I really did judge by the cover- I thought it would be a bland storyline loosely connected to 'To Kill A Mockingbird', but luckily my friend had more sense to read the blurb!
I always judge a book on how goood it is largely by if it teaches you something important about life when you've finished- and I learnt that in a very effective way.
I was right in that the book was linked with 'To Kill A Mockingbird', but in a stronger way than I expected. Not only had Caitlin been nicknamed Scout after one of the characters in it and her frequent referral in comparisons to her life to the book's, but it was also about civil rights. Maybe not in the same extremity of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', but after what I learnt it was just as important about real life- like a modern version that teaches you a modern moral. It was a brilliant book that I would reccommend to children who don't treat people properly because they're different... and anyone else. It was very insightful and one of the best books I've read.
By Abi Pearce