So, here is another confession from me: To Kill a Mockingbird is another (American) classic that I have never read… why I’ve never even watched the movie starring Gregory Peck! Reassuredly however, I am not alone in this situation, as our fellow book lover & blogger Thoughts on My Bookshelf just recently offered up her own confession as well. (Thanks Lauren!)
Lauren also mentions The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield and its character of Swan Lake as a contemporary Scout Finch, and, yes, I can agree to that. If you wish to read a review that embraces Swan Lake and all of her tenacity, please read Elizabeth’s review here. We know that may seemed biased, but truly, this is a wonderfully written review.
For me however, my thoughts kept returning many times over to Jubie, the protaganist in The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew. I found Scout and Jubie to be exceptionally similar in their awareness and their coming-of-age tale amidst their towns in a divided south. My review of The Dry Grass of August can be found here.
Both The Dry Grass of August and The Homecoming of Samuel Lake are not to be missed. Strong recommendations come from the Literary Hoarders to add these to your (essential) To Read lists!
To Kill a Mockingbird is found on many high school reading lists and many reviews can be found of these former students describing how onerous this read this was for them. I can understand some of their lamentations, as Harper Lee does tend to over-describe and uses much language and terms that even now, at this age, I needed to stop and look up. She does have the tendency to over-describe many of the more minute details which surely would cause many student to roll their eyes and begrudge further continuation. For instance, I did scoff at the reading of Scout and Jem asking Atticus to “elucidate”. I don’t know of any elementary-grade aged children that ever use the word elucidate! However, I found the story to be truly wonderful. I was deeply touched by Scout. She is a remarkable character. I often found myself thinking of what remarkable people Scout and Jem would have grown in to as a result of their father, Atticus and the life lessons he brought about during that time when he defended the black man Tom Robinson, when accused of raping a white girl. (the court room scenes are extraordinary!)
This was an audio read as I found it available from our public library. What ensured that I borrowed it was that it is narrated by Sissy Spacek. My thinking was that I could finally read this classic novel and more than likely thoroughly enjoy as an audiobook as Ms. Spacek was performing it. You can never be led astray by her talents. Thankfully, this was absolutely truthful. She endearingly brought this story to life for me and perhaps because of her narration I truly enjoyed this novel. Her voice took me right to the town and to a time where everything seemed so much simpler, to a time where it did take the village to raise the children in it. This was definitely a wonderful summertime read that put a smile on my face but also contributed to many pensive thoughts.
I would be remiss in saying though that more times than I should share, this image was the one that kept popping in to my head when listening to Sissy. I’m sorry! But honestly, Sissy was amazing in Carrie! Sissy was and is Carrie!
This video was posted on YouTube and it is a marvelous little video tribute to Atticus and Scout Finch put to U2’s song, “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own“. It’s a wonderful capture of their relationship as acted in the 1962 movie. I will now also look for the movie and add that as well to my list of classic films to watch.
I love this book. I’ve never thought about whether Scout’s vocabulary is realistic, but I suspect that Harper Lee may have had an advanced vocabulary as a child, possibly explaining her portrayal of Scout. In 2006, she wrote an interesting letter to Oprah (featured on Letters of Note and in the 10/19/12 post on my blog), in which she discusses her highly privileged and literate background. She writes: “So I arrived in the first grade, literate, with a curious cultural assimilation of American history, romance, the Rover Boys, Rapunzel, and The Mobile Press. Early signs of genius? Far from it. Reading was an accomplishment I shared with several local contemporaries.”
Thank you so much for stopping by! I went to your blog and found this piece. Very interesting, alarming and saddening all at the same time. One thing that kept coming to mind, and is probably owing to the fact that I just closed the pages of the book (borrowed from our public library 🙂 ) was SUTTON by J.R. Moehringer. It is a work of fiction but based on true-life notorious bank robber Willie “The Actor” Sutton. Growing up Irish in America he had nothing but books were always an extremely important part of his life and were referenced quite often throughout the story.
I’ve never heard of Sutton. It sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out.