Friday, June 30, 2006

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Okay, I'm not going to provide any kind of synopsis as nearly everyone who has a high-school degree has read this book. I'm only going to tell you what I got out of the re-read.
This time around, I viewed this from a parents perspective. As such, I can only hope that I am half the parent that Atticus Finch is to Jem and Scout. They are the epitome of everything I want for my children. They have all of the "i's": they are intelligent, inquisitive, and imaginative.

Where in high school, I read this book as a requirement and only took so much out of it, this time I realized what a wonderful story it is. Definitely not a waste of my time. But brain candy it was not. I certainly did not have to "dumb down" to reread it, but I didn't need to think, either. Which makes me wonder why it is a staple of high school reading lists. It conveys a moral message, but I wonder if it is too late for it to hit home in a high schooler. They've pretty much already made up their minds (or had it made up for them) about where they stand on racial issues.

So what is the right age to share this great piece of literature? I would actually love to read it to/with my daughter, whom is Scout's age. I think she's at the perfect age to process and contemplate the issues. Except for the whole rape thing. I doubt I will end up sharing this book with her (yet) because I'm not prepared to have our first conversation about sex be of rape. I'm definitely not ready to have a conversation about sex at all. She's only turning 8. Of course, Scout's first encounter with the topic was the rape, but, keeping it all in perspective, Scout is fictional.

If anyone reads this, thoughts, please. Would you read To Kill a Mockingbird to your 8 year old?

The Modern Library's Best 100: Not on the board's list, #5 on the reader's list

FYI: My local library was out of the next two books I intended to read for my summer online book club (Catch 22 and The Great Gatsby, I put them on order, but in the meantime, I will be reading Lady Chatterley's Lover for another online club I joined. It's a good thing I took the summer off from school... and that I love reading.

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