Today I Read…Mockingbird

Today I read Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.

Caitlin finds the world very confusing. People just don’t follow the Rules. They ask Strange Questions and don’t say their Words Right and sometimes they don’t remember Your Manners. But Devon is always there to help explain things when Caitlin Just Doesn’t Get It. Devon is the Best Big Brother.

But now Dad says that Devon is gone.

People keep saying that they’re Sorry For Her Loss, they ask How Can I Help, they say she needs to Find Closure, but Caitlin doesn’t want to Find Closure, she wants to Find Devon.

Mockingbird is the story of a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose brother is killed in a school shooting, and her struggle to understand what that means, for herself and her father.

Caitlin is right–people can be very confusing. There should be easy ways to fix things that go wrong. I think maybe her world makes a lot more sense than the one that most people agree on.


     CAITLIN, DAD SAYS. THE WHOLE town is upset by what happened. They want to help.
     They want to be with you. Talk to you. Take you places.
     I don’t want to be with them or talk to them or go places with them.
     He sighs. They want to help you deal with life, Caitlin . . . without Devon.
     I don’t know what this means but the people come to our house. I wish I could hide in Devon’s room but I’m not allowed in there now. Not since The Day Our Life Fell Apart and Dad slammed Devon’s door shut and put his head against it and cried and said, No no no no no. So I can’t go to my hidey-hole in Devon’s room anymore and I miss it.
     I HATE RECESS EVEN THOUGH Devon says it’s supposed to be my favorite subject and there is no recess once you get to middle school so enjoy it now. But I can’t enjoy it because I’m surrounded by sharp screaming and it’s too bright and people’s elbows are all pointy and dangerous and it’s hard to breathe and my stomach always feels really really sick. I stand and put my arms around me like a force field and squeeze my eyes almost closed to try to shut everything out. It doesn’t work. I still feel like a Fake Item Box that Mario is going to run over any minute now. I start sucking my shirt cuff that’s sticking out of my jacket sleeve.
     I see Josh pushing people off of the monkey bars again. He used to be in my class before he got put in the other fifth-grade room because Mrs. Brook says it’s better that way. I think so too. Josh used to be just loud but now he’s loud and evil. Dad says it’s because Josh’s cousin was one of the school shooters at Devon’s school. The one the police caught right away. And killed. But not before he shot Devon.
     Now my heart is pounding loud and I want to moan but Devon says you can’t moan or scream or shake your hands up and down or rock or get under a table or spin around over and over in public. Actually you can’t do most things over and over in public because that’s not normal unless it’s something like clapping or laughing but you have to do it only at the right times and places and Devon always tells me. Now I don’t know anymore.

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