I do believe that every child that has gone through the public or private school system has read this very famous and very wonderful book. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary and on a whim at Barnes and Noble, I purchased it to have in my home collection and to re-read this book I had read so many years ago with fresh eyes.
I am embarrassed to say how long it has taken me to finish reading it (and thus creating a new post), but it seems that life and being very sleepy during my nightly reading ritual can make the book reading process quite long. However, I was dazzled by the details and powerful writing that had long since faded into a blur since the first time I read this book.
Since I picked up this famous story again, it seemed to keep popping up in my every day life. I had forgotten how much of an influence this story had–on Civil Rights, on understanding of Southern culture, on current and future lawyers striving to be like Atticus Finch. I think that as an English major, I took books like this for granted. We read so many important works (trying to squeeze as many as possible into each term) and my professors strived to expand our experiences beyond the stories we all read in middle and high school. Re-reading Mockingbird made me think that I would like to read many of the books I read in college (and in high school) again when there is not a “grade” involved. I think the first on the list would be Invisible Man, perhaps one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
All that being said, re-reading Mockingbird was a wonderful experience. I think I was too young upon the first reading to truly understand the significance of the themes, plot, and even the incredible quality/skilled writing. I even remarked to myself that it seemed like heavy material for such young children to be reading it.
If you are reading this post, I would imagine you have already read this book so I won’t waste any time rehashing the plot. However, I would vehemently encourage you to read it again. Read about Scout’s childlike perceptions, Calpurnia’s kindess and wisdom, and of course, about Atticus’ incredible integrity and honor. It certainly is encouraging to see how far we have come with race relations since this book was published, though we still have far yet to go.
I am hoping to take a trip to Monroeville, Alabama in the spring (Harper Lee’s hometown) or sometime in the future to tour the court house used for the film adaptation and to see the play.
If for some reason you have never read this book, or read the Cliff Notes version when you were young and foolish…please read it! And, if it has been a long time since you read it, I would highly recommend reading it again. You won’t regret it.