I’m sure there are a lot of posts up about the loss of Harper Lee right now, and I decided to add my own. To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time favorite book. I even named a dog Scout and a business The Mockingbird. That says a lot in itself.
I first read the book when I was young, and it was new. I’ve read that To Kill a Mockingbird is a controversial story. It wasn’t to me. To me, at the time, it was the story of a little girl and her brother, and the adventures they had as children. It was the demonstration of a wise and wonderful father who just happened to be a lawyer. I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want the story to end.
I finished the book and put it on the shelf, knowing I’d read it again one day. Five or six readings later, it’s still my favorite book. Each time I read it I take away something different.
To me, the characters were real. Ms. Harper’s writing made me feel as though I was right there with them, watching what happened first hand. There were characters I adored, and there were those whom I detested. There were people in the story whom I pitied, and others who simply made me feel good.
Let’s not forget Boo Radley. The mystery surrounding him in the children’s eyes fascinated me. Dill was an inspired character with all the flaws of his age and lifestyle. Tom Robinson was a good man whose circumstances would change the lives of many.
The storyline? I learned a lot from it. Having been born and raised on the West Coast, the story covered things I didn’t know about at the time of the first reading. It was an eye-opener, but somehow not shocking.
Most of us have probably read a book that has this appeal – a book we won’t soon forget. There are a few others for me, but To Kill a Mockingbird is still Number One on my Hit Parade.
Harper Lee’s writing inspired me in many ways, but the fact that her characters came across as so down-to-earth and real was the biggest inspiration.
I waited for years for her to write another book that would entertain me the way the first one did, as did many other people. It didn’t happen until Go Set a Watchman came out recently. I just started reading it last night. So far it’s not grabbing me the way the first book did, but I’m only into it a few chapters.
I will say that from discussions with my family and older people I knew in my youth, I believe the story represented the era fairly realistically. While we can’t change the way things were, we can learn from them.
Good-bye, Harper Lee, and thank you!
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