Friday, June 7, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Typically, I do not write reviews of the books I read and teach in my high school English class.  However, I must make an exception with this classic.  Having been over ten years since last teaching TKAM, I had not forgotten how much I love this book, but I had not remembered to fully appreciate the beauty of the writing and the pure unadulterated pleasure of re-reading this book.  The manner in which Lee weaves together the childhood stories of Boo, the community of Maycomb, the trial of Tom Robinson and the prejudice of the townspeople, and the loss of innocence of Scout, Jem, and Dill is just pure brilliance.  Reading the final chapter, as Scout reflects on the previous two years as she stands on Boo's porch and then curls up on Atticus' lap, my heart could recognize the pureness of this story.  Instead of creepy murder mysteries where you want to take a shower after you finish, or twisted stories of human nature and love gone wrong, To Kill a Mockingbird is just one of those books that as you put it down, you just want to try harder, be a better person, stand up for what's right.  If you have never read it, or haven't picked it up in years, do yourself a favor and take a trip to Maycomb and the world of Scout Finch.

Scout, Atticus, and Boo by Mary Murphy
This book was written after a documentary was made, celebrating To Kill a Mockingbird's fiftieth anniversary.  After spending all its life on the best-seller list, being the only book ever written by Harper Lee, and being instrumental in the beginning of the civil rights movements of the 1960's, there's a lot to be said about this book.  Murphy interviews a huge variety of people, ranging from other famous authors, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, the curator of the museum in Lee's hometown, and even her 98 year old sister, Alice.  The one person you will not hear from is...Nelle Harper Lee herself, the original 'Boo.'  I found the trivia and insight into both the book and the 1963 movie quite fascinating, but then again, I love trivia and historical background.  If you love TKAM, you may find it as interesting as I did.

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