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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.



Book 69/100: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

This was a "re-read" for me -- I first read this book in High School, remembered liking it and thought I remembered quite a bit about it, and then re-read it for book club to the rude awakening, as always, that I did not remember nearly as much about it as I thought I did.

Although it still held up, I did not find that I had necessarily developed a deeper appreciation for it over the years. Instead, I was more critical -- of Scout's voice, which sometimes sounds much too old even though she is supposedly looking back at the experiences from an adult perspective -- and of sections that seemed to move too slowly. It felt "long" to me in a way that it did not when I read it in high school; perhaps that is simply a product of this being a re-read. And although the book obviously carries a strong message against racism, I still wondered how the exact same story may be received today, if people were reading it for the first time. I also wonder how people of color respond to this book that white people seem to hold up as some sort of epitome of anti-racism literature, even though it's a book by white people about white people who try to (and fail) to rescue black people.

The African-American community is portrayed in an overwhelmingly positive light, but I did wonder a bit about the way Atticus was cast in the role of "savior," the way the African American community fell all over themselves giving him gifts and accolades even after Tom Robinson was found guilty at trial.

I still developed a bit of a literary crush on Atticus, and I admire his child-rearing philosophy. But Calpurnia has the best name.