Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ******

Six stars. I don't have six stars on my rating system, so I know I'm breaking my own boundaries by giving a book six stars. But if ever a book was written that would break boundaries, it is this one.

I never read this book before, mostly because of my high school English teacher my junior year. He was a good teacher, though very anal. He didn't want any of us to "cheat" on the book list that year, so he assigned only books that had no Cliff Notes written for them. I was exposed to some great literature that year, most notably Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It was a very eye opening year of reading for me. But I did miss something.

In a way, I'm thankful for that teacher. I don't know how I would have reacted to this book if I had read it as a teenager. It certainly would have been in a different way than I've reacted to it now. My first knee-jerk response as I started reading was that I had to have a daughter. There had to be a way, and I was going to have one. I wanted a girl like Scout.

But after looking at my life, and looking at our family, I came to the conclusion that we don't always get what we want. As an adult I've had to deal with this many times. I'm not going to be able to have an infant daughter that I give birth to myself. Just as Scout didn't get to have a mother.

And then I got to the summer of Boo in the book. Boo, who has withdrawn from all society because of the things he's been told, the small trouble he got into as a child. He is locked away. I thought of my son, who I'm doing everything in my power to encourage to be part of our society, despite how our society has treated people like my son in the past. It was then that it hit me: I don't have a daughter like Scout, but I have son like Boo. But my Boo, my darling Boo, will be seen. He will be heard. He will be a character in life because of his presence, not because of his absence.

Mistakes are made when raising children, it can't be helped. But if you are there for your child, that may be something that even I won't mess up.

"He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."

1 comment:

Patt Kellar said...

Suzanne, Your review made me cry. Our book club has decided to reread this book. I have always loved this book and the movie. Gregory Peck is perfect as Addicus (spelling?) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.