"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Those are Atticus Finch's resounding words to his children, Jem and Scout, as he defends in court the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl in the 1930s American Deep South.
I first read this book as a dreamy, wide-eyed 14-year old teenager with cow-licked hair inside an empty library, which would eventually become one of my many safe places of refuge during high school. My love for this book made a good campaign speech when I was forced to run for president of the Book Lovers Club a.k.a. "The Geeky-Looking-But-Not-Geek-At-All Students Who Lunch At The School Library While Reading Books." Oh, the good old days! And yes, I won. There were only 13 of us and all of us were club officers.
Throughout the years, I've re-read the book countless times and it has become a must-bring whenever I'm traveling on a train or during long flights. I even got myself a 40th Anniversary Edition a few years back. Suffice to say, this Harper Lee masterpiece, her first and only novel, left an indelible mark in my literary consciousness and gave me a hero that I consider a great role model and moral compass, the lawyer Atticus Finch.
I have many favorite quotes from the novel but one part from Chapter 22 really makes me laugh every time I am reminded of it or every time I read it again. It never grows old. Here's the part:
|1962 Hollywood movie version|
|Harper Lee at the court house.|
Here's a snippet from the same documentary:
In this video tribute, several well-known authors recount their first experience reading the book and how it influenced their lives and even their families to this day.