Monday, July 05, 2010

Turn the Page...Tuesday

Mockingbird in Autum
Originally uploaded by doncon402

'When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.  When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assauged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury.  His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right;  when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh.  He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.
When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading up to his accident.  I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that.  He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.'
~Gregory Peck
And so starts the story, To Kill A Mockingbird.  This month, Adrienne, who hosts Turn the Page...Tuesday challenged all participants to read an American Classic.  I love the classic's and pick them up at yard sales and thrift stores whenever I find them, so I was excited for this month's challenge. 
Back in junior high we read this story and then watched the movie, but so many years have passed that I only really remembered the jist of the story and not the particulars at all.  This is a classic that is written so well and readable that you find yourself inside the story and part of the lives of Scout and her big brother, Jem. 
I found myself playing games with the Finch kids and their friend, Dill, in the front yard while Atticus was at work, and sneaking out of the house at night to try and catch a glimpse of the neighbor, Boo Radley, whom was never seen but the whole neighborhood knew he was still alive because nobody had seen his body carried out yet. I was in class with Scout on her first day when one of the Ewell boys showed up to be counted, get his name on the books, harrass the new teacher and slink back off to the piece of land by the dump that the Ewells called home.  I sat with Jem while he read in the afternoons to the cantakerous old Mrs. Dubois and watched the fire take over Miss Maudie's house on the coldest night in the memory of Maycomb, Alabama. That night, Boo Radley slipped a blanket over Scouts shoulders, unseen to all the neighborhood eyes.  I gripped the balcony rail with white knuckles along with Jem as we waited for the jury to file back in, letting us know if Tom Robinson would be acquitted, then was terrified a few months later on a dark Halloween night under a starless sky. 
This is an incredible coming of age novel, set in the deep south, full of the racial tension and prejudices of the time.  An English teacher of mine from high school and I had a conversation of Facebook about this book.  She said that she assigned To Kill A Mockingbird a time or two to her junior class and it always just made her crazy when the kids would be bored by it.  Education is wasted on the young.  I so agree with her.  This book didn't leave an impression on me at all when I read it back when, but now it did.  After reading it this time, I know that I will come back to it time and time again. 
The copy I have (had), is an ancient paperback.  As I read, with each page that I turned, the pages actually fell out into my hands.  I will be keeping my eyes open, search ebay from time to time, in order to hopefully find a hardback copy for my classic's shelf. 
The next time you read a classic, give To Kill  A Mockingbird a go.  In the meantime,  pop over to Turn the Page...Tuesday to see what others are reading. 
What is the last classic you read?  Did you like it?


Adrienne said...

This is only list of 'want to read'! I too want to get a hardback copy to keep. So glad you joined in ~ I watched the movie years ago but like your teacher said ... it was wasted on my youth! I don't want to watch the movie again until I've read the book.

I've got Mister Linky up on my post so you can now link! Let me know if you have any trouble with it.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

My oldest read this in school. He really liked it a lot (and that's saying something because he's not much of a reader). It's been so long since I read this one. Thanks for bringing it back.

Jill said...

My book club read this last year... many of us felt the same as you. The book had much more impact on us now than it did in school.

Such a great story!

Mary said...

Paula, I never read "To Kill a Mockingbird" until I was in my 50s. How could I have missed this beautifully written work of art? I have read it at least 3 times in the last ten years and am sure I will read it again.

Hope all is well with you. Drop over to my Writing Nook for my latest.


Stacey's Treasures said...

I don't remember ever reading "To Kill A Mocking bird" but now that you tell the tale I think I might have seen the movie.
I will have to keep my eyes open for this book.

Yolanda said...

I think I am going to have to start partipcipating in this. I hope you are having a wonderful summer.