Without even knowing that Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I re-read this favorite book last week. I think it is my 4th time through it, but I am not quite sure. I read it the first time when I was homeschooling Scotty--he was in 8th or 9th grade. It is one of those rare books that has universal appeal, compelling with a great message.
This book has quite a few layers, speaking to topics of racism, small town justice and injustice, abuse, incest, fear, tolerance, fatherhood, growing up and the importance of family. Oprah W. says, "It's our national novel," and Laura Bush says, "It changed how people think."
I love Scout with her sharp mind and tomboy attitude. She is so real--if not precocious--and I love the scene where her teacher is all flustered because she starts school knowing how to read. How hilarious is that? The teacher tells her not to read anymore until she is taught the proper way! She can read at a high school level but the teacher wants her to go back to learning the sounds that the letters make. She was homeschooled by her father before it was fashionable and she learned to read by being read to. Imagine that.
If you haven't read this classic, and I hadn't until I read it to Scotty, pick up a copy. You will be spirited away to another time and place and become enchanted with this master story teller who makes us take a good look at society and at ourselves. I have vowed to finally watch the movie this summer--after all the years of reading the book, I think it is about time to see the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck.