We just returned from a week away where I did a lot of reading – starting with Mockingbird by Kathryn Erksine – the final book on one of my summer reading lists.
This is a difficult book – difficult in that it forces you to confront some challenging topics – grief, violence in a community (a tragic school shooting) and finding closure. At the same time, this book looks at the difficult aspects of seemingly simple things – forming friendships, demonstrating empathy, forgiveness. All of it all the more challenging as we live this story through the eyes and thoughts of Caitlin, an eleven year old girl with Asperger’s syndrome who has just lost the brother who has always helped her navigate the world.
Yet, difficult as the subject matter might be, I found this book very readable and Caitlin extremely likeable. Her confusion about social interactions and her uncomfortably blunt manner allow us to rethink social conventions and really consider the qualities we want to exude. Intersting that the person who “gets” Caitlin best is Michael, a little boy she befriends during the less intimidating little kid recess. Michael is – as children are – not so encumbered with the drive to behave appropriately and is just open and honest with Caitlin asking and answering questions in a totally natural way. Caitlin and Michael learn a lot from each other. Erskine did a lovely job of communicating Caitlin’s struggles to show her emotions and the courage she demonstrated as she helped her community begin to heal.
A wonderful read. This would be a fantastic read aloud as there is much to discuss but also for more mature readers, a book to really fall into.