I decided to spend the Memorial Day weekend reading a great classic that hadn’t been assigned to me in my high school English classes, and in college, I was too busy taking 17th Century Poetry, Prose and Drama, Beowulf, Advanced Poetry, Shakespeare and Advanced Essay Writing to give it a thought. I had of course heard of it, and often wondered about its title. I will wonder no more, but let you know that this unique naming has an incredible payoff at the end.
I am so glad I took the time to read this. For starters, I could almost feel the heat of the deep South and the stinging prejudices of the time. There’s no better book than one which puts the reader at edge over injustices, and then rights it all in the end. (I hope I haven’t given away too much here).
TKAM is a story told from the perspective of a young, precocious child named Scout who is forced to go to elementary school when she’s already been fluently reading for “as long as she could remember.” She’s a tomboy who experiences the painful trials of learning about human behavior and this culminates with a great trial (literally) when her lawyer/father defends a Negro.
Throughout this fictional tale, we enjoy the strong, authentic relationships between her and her brother, Gem and their summertime friend and visitor, Dill. The story is a great read for anyone who is curious about people as it details the eccentricities of various neighbors in the established community that is Maycomb County. The gossip never ends here, it seems. It’s as if someone burps and it’s all over town and the tales grow as tall as the oak trees. Speaking of trees, there’s one in particular that holds special treasures for Gem and Scout. Here, we see Harper Lee artfully give us just a glimpse of foreshadowing.
I dare not tell another detail. I would rather see you go out and get this book for yourself and enjoy what I consider to be an incredibly great story. I couldn’t get to the end fast enough, and then when I did, I was disappointed that I was finished reading it. I guess I wanted to stay in Maycomb County just a little longer.
I am hopeful that both my daughters will spend a portion of their summer reading this book.