Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review: "Mockingbird" by Kathryn Erskine

This year, as a part of my New Year's resolution, I plan to post more often. These posts may include but will not be limited to book reviews, fictional characters, authors, and writing. What I will do: write posts that (hopefully) spark interest and/or conversation. What I won't do: focus on classics or bestsellers, although I may include some characters from such stories from time to time; summarize books or give spoilers (without warning).

Book: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Genre: Young adult, realistic fiction
Awards: National Book Award for Young People's Literature (2010)
My rating: 5/5 stars

Mockingbird was required reading for my young adult literature class, and I would gladly read it again. First of all, this book gave me perspective: that of an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s dealing with life and grief.

This book really spoke to me, and I could relate to some of the characters, especially since my brother has high-functioning autism. I realize that autism and Asperger’s are not the same, although they have many similarities, but both are often misunderstood in society, especially around people who have not had experience with them before. Mockingbird presents Caitlin not just as a girl with Asperger’s but a person who is human, even though she may appear different.

Not only does the book contain touchy elements not often addressed, but it contains several elements of literary worth. As is implied by the title, there are several allusions to Harpers Lee’s How to Kill a Mockingbird. Although Mockingbird is not as complex in writing style or plot, there are many great lines that made me think, elements that had twofold meaning, and three-dimensional characters.

I gave this book a 5/5 for being incredibly human. Readers get a glimpse of the good and the bad, the sorrow and the joy. I may be biased towards this book because Caitlin has Asperger’s, but it adds to the worth of the book. I would recommend this book to anybody 10+, but would not limit this book to children or young adults. Because there is mention of school shootings, I would caution parents to use discretion, but there are no violent scenes. I appreciate how Erskine handled the difficult topics she approached.

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