Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book 81- To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is probably my favorite book in the world. I love, love, love this novel. I was very excited that I had a chance to be a in high school freshmen English class where this was being taught. I re-read it. And I was flipping through my blog today and discovered I forgot to post about it!

This Depression era classic by Harper Lee is told by Scout Finch, a 9 year old girl living in Alabama. She and her older brother Jem are raised by their attorney daddy, Atticus, the best father in literary history, and their housekeeper Calpernia also helps with the child rearing.

In this timeless classic Scout tells of her first love and best friend Dill and about the cast of characters around her neighborhood. We hear about the Radleys, specifically "Boo" Radley who is the mysterious stranger living across the street from Scout who hasn't been seen in 30 years. The children are fascinated by the idea of him.

And throughout the second part of the story we hear about the Tom Robinson case, the black man accused of rape and Atticus defending him. The children learn how to be brave, how brave their father is, about innocence lost, about the rights and wrongs of an entire town, about the unfairness of life.

I love this book. I've probably read a million books in my almost 40 years of life, I've taught English for 10+ years, and worked in various libraries, adding up to about 6 years and I can honestly say this is my favorite book in the world. I love this story. I love the voice of Scout, the inflections, her young girl observations reflecting back through her adult woman eyes. I love the descriptions and the words. I love the richness of the story, the use of the word "linin'" and "chifferobe." I cry every time I read this book, certain pages and passages make the tears roll or the laughter burble right out loud. I love this story. As a teacher I could just analyze this story to death but when it all comes down to it, I just love this book for the book itself, for the beautiful story Harper Lee spun.

Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:

"Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o 'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."

How can you not love descriptive writing such as this? "Soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum"... gives me the good chills.