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florinda3rs

florinda3rs

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To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee I first read this post-college as part of my effort to catch up on classics that I'd missed during my formal education. I kept my copy, but I don't know when I'd have read it again if someone hadn't selected it for Book Club in November 2006 - and then that meeting ended up not happening, so we never did have the discussion (or watch the movie).

This was a more meaningful reading experience for me the second time around. I think that having returned to the South for ten years after my original reading of the novel - and then leaving it again - made me appreciate its Southern literary flavor even more, and connect better with the history that informs it. Having said that, I had some trouble buying the enlightened attitudes of the Finch family in that time and place; writing of the 1930's in the late 1950's, Harper Lee seems to be foreshadowing the coming civil-rights upheavals of the 1960's. It also struck me as out of place, in that context, for two mid-century middle-class Southern children to address their father by this first name.

However, those are quibbles. The novel certainly takes on Big Questions, but it became and remains a classic because the story is compelling and the characters - Scout, Atticus, Boo Radley - are unforgettable creations. I appreciated Lee's writing, particularly Scout's distinctive narrative voice, more on my second reading than I did originally, and caught more of the humor and small details.

To Kill a Mockingbird isn't usually one of the books that first comes to mind when I'm questioned about my all-time favorites, but it's one I'll always be glad I've read...and read again.