Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird turns 50
Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is 50 years old this July. And as the book marks its 50th year, it's exciting to see readers celebrate how the book touched their lives. There have been features on Harper Lee on TV and special sections in bookstores and, of course, on the web.
To Kill A Mockingbird is set in the small town of Macon, Alabama that bursts into violence with the accusation that a black man has raped a young white woman. Atticus Finch takes on the man's defense. The book is told from the point of view of Atticus's young daughter Scout. Scout is a tomboy, outspoken and she's always looked to Atticus as her guide for what is right and how to behave. Somehow Atticus always seems to make the right choice. He's kind even when people are rude to him or his family. He's brave even when it's clear that he's in danger and that no one would fault him for choosing to avoid the fight. He always treats everyone with respect no matter what their position is and how they treat him. He makes it clear to his children that he expects them to behave the same way.
He reminds me of my grandfather, who I've always looked to for guidance and who has always behaved with integrity, kindness and sensitivity to me. Both Atticus and my grandfather seemed to make the right choices and behave with integrity in the small things as well as the big ones -- they both served as guides for my behavior and people to look to when I'm not sure how to behave or react to adversity or conflict.
It's not surprising that To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the books that was almost universally impacted people. Not how many people have read the book (over 30 million copies have been sold) but from the way that the Atticus, Jem, Scout and the other characters have affected and inspired so many of us. Last Sunday CBS ran a feature on Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird where Oprah, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric all spoke of how the book affected them.
Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird lately? What did you like most about the book?
Enter the contest to win a To Kill A Mockingbird gift pack.
Listen to Sissy Spacek read an excerpt from To Kill A Mockingbird at http://tokillamockingbird50year.com/