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To Kill A Mockingbird Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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When Harper Lee wrote this semi-autobiographical book, I'm not sure that she set out to make it part court room drama, part young adult fiction, and part lesson in humanity. When I read TKAM as a teenager when it was a school assignment, I begrudgingly started it and quickly became lost in the story. It was Young Adult fiction before that type of literature had a label. The story was compelling and the perspective of young scout was a blend of childish thoughts and dialog mixed with mature and "wise beyond her years" insight.
When I read the book in my twenties, I was able to relate to the social issues touched upon in the book. I was outraged along with Scout and Jem as Tom Robinson was discriminated against in a court of law simply because of his skin color. I could see the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of the Finch's even at this pre-World War II time period.
No, in my early 50's, I realized that I am Atticus Finch. I have a daughter who is slightly younger than Scout as she appears in the book. Scout views her 50 year old father as old and not able to participate in activities with her and her brother. This made me wonder if my six year old views me the way that Scout viewed Atticus. It really made me think and it made my relationship with the book change completely. I went from the headstrong Jem/Scout type mindset in my teens and twenties to a more sedate mindset in the personage of Atticus. I could see myself advising my children to be patient and wait for issues to resolve themselves instead of charging ahead blindly. What a revelation. It made me fall in love with the book all over again.
Now, as Harper Lee prepares to release her 2nd book in July, I am both excited and nervous. I want it to be as good as TKAM, but I question how it could ever be. I will be reading it the day that it comes out and I recommend that you re-read this classic first and then read the new book.
What a fantastic picture was painted through the children's conversation, of the times, the town and its inhabitants, the prejudice and the social structure. I'm so pleased I read it again and would certainly recommend it as a must read. But I had this sinking feeling that we haven't come all that far in our judgmental approach to our neighbours or people we consider different especially in small country towns.
This book helped me to see the utter wrongness and harm done by racism and bigotry. And not just to the victims but to those who live their lives uttering such tripe. You can see the smallness of the mind and the traps set.
And of course, I think this was one of the greatest movies ever mad, one that should be required viewing for ever American.