Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Read Along for TKAM: And the Curtain Falls

 August was a horrible month for reading as it was busy with work, family and trying to get some writing in.  If you can believe it - I read and listened to only twelve books and many were shorter novels. Despite not having too much time to read I did finish To Kill a Mockingbird before September and enjoyed every moment of it.

 As I listened to Sissy Spacek narration of Harper Lee's novel I found myself almost reading this as if it was my first time.  When I first read this novel as a preteen I understood the basic principle of the racial issues and of right and wrong and it frustrated me. I wanted good to prevail and have everyone have a group hug and ride off in the sunset.  On my second reading, in my mid-twenties, I was more aware of the elements behind the issues and it angered me.  I wanted blood from the bad, shame the bystanders, stand on my soapbox demanding idealism and justice.  This time (turning 35 later this month) when I listened to the words written by the incomparable Lee I took in the pain, injustice and reality and I cried.  I cried with Scout.  I felt what she did but instead of applying myself into the novel I walked in the characters' s shoes.  I am fortunate to have had this novel by my side as I grew into a more compassionate person.  I still want to change...and rage against...the world but I want the peace that many of the heroes strive for.

  Lee's editor was brilliant in zeroing in on Jean Louise's childhood and having her focus her novel around a young Scout.  Through this character Lee is able to give us the good and bad of Maycomb, circa the Great Depression.  We see the innocence of morality, the awakening of conscientiousness and the ultimate compassion.  This is not just a novel of a small town in Alabama that houses racists, bullies, small minds or lowbrow people that strikes it's readers for change.  It is a novel that Lee wrote from her own experiences and childhood memories but also a novel that asks you to look at the world from more than one point of view.

The fact that this novel is a banned book only makes me more proud to call this piece of literature one of my favourites of all time.  Any book can allow me to be carried away to another place and time but it takes something special to take me to another place and time but give me a different perspective each time.  I would recommend this novel to everyone - you may love it or hate it but you will feel something.

I apologize that this isn't quite a review as much as a reflection.  I think for me this is one book that I can't be as objective as I wanted to be.  This proves interesting as I will be reading Go Set a Watchman this month.  Other than being excited to read more of Harper Lee's writing I am not sure how I feel going into the book.

k (My Novelesque Life)

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