"It's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
I first read this novel in high school, as probably many of you did. I brought it home and devoured it. Then because I had "read ahead" I had to go back and reread each chapter for the quizzes each day.
Scout Finch, the novel's narrator, was the girl I admired but knew I would never be. She was so smart and brave. In fact, the only thing we have in common is the love of books and reading. This remains my favorite quote from Harper Lee:
"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."
But the story is so amazing and so timely and historical and tragic and lovely.
The tragedy of Tom Robinson is true for any of us who have been wrongfully accused--and the choice to tell the truth when faced with hostile adversity is a turning point in the novel.
Plus, who wouldn't love the ultimate underdog, Boo Radley?
I will argue to my dying day that To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's first and only novel, is The Great American Novel.
Related books: Of course, Charles Shields's unauthorized biography Mockingbird was interesting. But the authorized biography The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills is fascinating. Mills moved in next door to the Lee sisters--Nelle and Alice--and writes with their blessing about their life in Monroeville, Alabama, where both sisters still live. (Edited to add, I ended up setting this book aside in 2015 because it was more about Mills than the Lees.)
To read more of this #31DaysofBooks series, visit the introduction post.