To Kill A Mockingbird turns 50 today!
I’ve been rather bookish this week, and it’s only right that today, July 11 is the 50th anniversary of the debut of the book, To Kill A Mockingbird.
Excepting the Bible of course, I can think of no other book that has had a greater impact on my life.
Nelle Harper Lee wrote the book in two years, thought it would die a “merciful quick death” and be forgotten.
Boy was she wrong!
TKAM tells the stories of an Alabama family, their neighbors, friends, enemies, and servants. It tells a story of racial injustice, ignorance, and bias.
Lauded by many and abhored by others, TKAM has been banned, ballyhooed, and beloved.
It’s the perfect novel to teach in school. It has all the literary elements writers use from allusions to foreshadowing and beyond. It’s a great book to teach kids about literature.
The story line is what gets people, and what shook UP a nation back in 1960. Banned in some school districts then, it still remains the 21st most objectionable book according to the American Library Association! It uses racial slurs (get over it, people talked like that in the time it was set), profanity (see previous note), rape, and the attraction of a white woman to a black man – which then and now, is one of it’s biggest complaints. There are many who think the book’s treatment of racism does not condemn the small Alabama town enough, and it’s use of the “N” word (48 times) demeans readers.
Again, it’s set in the 1930s, things were different, they may not have been right, but they were what they were. Facts are Facts!
The only book that rated higher on the “hate list” in 1968 was Little Black Sambo.
Harper Lee wrote a book so good that she never had to write another one.
Truman Capote, a childhood friend of Harper Lee, on whom the book’s character Dill is base, one of my favorite writers, and a literary genius said, “Someone rare has written this very fine first novel: a writer with the liveliest sense of life, and the warmest, most authentic sense of humor. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable.”
He was exactly right, if you haven’t read it, do!