I can’t remember when I read it. Maybe sometime in middle school? 9th grade? No idea.
I know exactly when I read George Orwell’s Animal Farm because I read it under extreme duress. 10th grade. 1 weekend. Laying on my bedroom floor. Thank God it was brief.
But much to its credit, Mockingbird just sort of floats in my memory as a book I took in somewhere along the way.
I remember feeling such a surge of sensitivity for Jem and Scout as they tried to simply be kids in a tumultuous time and place. In comparison to them, my childhood was very easy. I wasn’t defending my father in public places for a decision that he made based on his ethical standards. That’s got to be brutal and I can’t relate.
Harper Lee could have chosen to have the entire story orbit around race relations, but her introduction of Boo Radley was special. Aside from the seriousness of their father’s professional duties, Jem, Scout, and Dill had a little project of their own in discovering just what Boo was all about. I know that my friends and I used to speculate about people in town, or people living on a certain street. I am pretty sure all kids are hardwired to do that sort of thing because they like mystery and secrets and are crafty enough to come up with stories of their own if something doesn’t readily present itself. I found that aspect of the story very relatable.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a beautiful book that I feel should be read and discussed. To understand what is happening now is to understand what happened in the past. Readers are more openminded today than ever. We should all be reading books that were banned to better understand those that read before us. What scared them makes us think. We have the privilege of seeing things differently and with a broader scope, and shame on us if we don’t take advantage of that. The real crime isn’t reading a banned book; it’s being afraid to find out what lies between its covers.
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I couldn’t agree more that banned books help us understand things that we don’t understand. While I did not enjoy reading Mockingbird in the near recent past, my opinion does not negate this book and its importance in any way. In fact, prolly makes it invaluable. Thanks to Maggie Mitchell for bringing this heartfelt post. You can find my Mags at The Grey Blog.
Maggie Mitchell is a full-time mama to a magical little girl and publisher at Bushbaby Press. Maggie has written two children’s books–The Big Stink! in 2011, and Kacey the Paper Cat in 2012. She (occasionally) writes a personal blog called The Grey Blog and contributes to Handmade in PA, the community blog of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen with her column “Buy, Buy Baby.”
Maggie is a graduate of Elizabethtown College and West Chester University. She lives very happily in West Chester, PA with her husband, daughter, and Kacey, the Paper Cat.
To KICK OFF Banned book week, I’m joining forces with Sheila at Book Journey and celebrating BANNED BOOKS by giving away a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy entry: