Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Friday Favorites: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee reviewed

This week's favorite book has enchanted, comforted and taught me for many years. I first read To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, as an adolescent. The drama unfolded in a southern world familiar to me, I remember being breathless. As an adult I re-read it's pages, this time far from home in the wilds of Wyoming, attempting once again to walk among the familiar. It did the trick.

If you're from the south the language flows easy and familiar, the scenes take little imagining, you've been there. For those not use to southern ways some of the charm may be lost, yet the story can ring just as true. The characters are rich and deep. Perhaps we can identify with a character or we've known one or at least we wish we had.

Atticus is the kind of man you want to marry, to be your father, to be your friend. He is at the heart of the story shaping what his neighbors, and we, think of prejudice and integrity.  Defending an innocent black man accused of rape during the Great Depression was not a job for the faint of heart. Atticus' children, Scout and Jem, observe the people around them as they respond to the volatile situation gripping their father and their small southern town. Through it all Atticus teaches them lessons about integrity, compassion, strength, humility and love by his actions and at times by his eloquent words.

We meet more than one "mockingbird", an innocent person, in the story. Justice, morality, honor and human dignity are the colors Lee paints her world with. The fight between good and evil is strong and it's impossible not to root for the good guy. Our sensitivities to each human's struggle, the hidden mockingbird in each of us, are stirred.

For so many reasons I love this book. My beloved South is handled with such poignant humor and charm by a loving daughter, it's easy to fall in love all over again in the reading. Is there a book that takes you back to your childhood in powerful ways, whose characters have become friends?

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