Scout, Atticus, and Boo - A Review

by uninvitedwriter

Scout, Atticus, and Boo: a Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 2010. It tells the background story of the author and of the book itself.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Mary McDonagh Murphy has written Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird. The book features remembrances by writers and others about how they first discovered the novel and what it means to them. It is prefaced by a brief biography of Harper Lee and the author's own memories of To Kill a Mockingbird. The author had already made a documentary about the novel and had interviewed many celebrities.

The people interviewed in the book range from famous writers, to Oprah Winfrey, to past and present residents of Monroeville, to the older sister of Harper Lee. My favorite interview is definitely the one with Harper Lee's sister Alice Finch Lee, she is currently 98 and still practices law. She provides a lot of background to the book and offers a view of the author and her family history that is seldom heard.

Scout, Atticus and Boo
Scout, Atticus and Boo

A Community

If you really want to understand To Kill a Mockingbird this book goes a long way in that regard. As the author says, "Look at all the ground To Kill a Mockingbird covers: childhood, class, citizenship, conscience, race, justice, fatherhood, friendship, love, and loneliness."

Also, it really makes you feel part of a community reading all these excellent writers talk about their love of this novel and how much your feelings about the book have in common with theirs.

And To Kill a Mockingbird shows no signs of disappearing from reading lists in the near future, as Scout, Atticus, and Boo states, "fifty years after its publication, it sells nearly a million copies every year—hundreds of thousands more than The Catcher in RyeThe Great Gatsby or Of Mice and Men , American classics that also are staples of high school classrooms." And, as I have stated in another article, the novel is also one of the most often challenged or banned books in schools.

That this novel remains popular makes me happy, because To Kill a Mockingbird should be loved and enjoyed by everyone.

To Kill a Mockingbird
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Personal Memories of To Kill a Mockingbird

I don't recall whether or not I had seen the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird first or if I read the novel first. I was introduced to the novel in grade 10 English. I remember we acted out some scenes; I played Walter Cunningham in the scene where he comes to dinner and won’t talk. I had a crush on my English teacher; he was Australian and he made every single class fun. He would teach us Australian slang and he was always having us act out scenes from book or plays.

I do remember that this book hit a strong cord with me. I don’t know exactly what it was that got to me. I think part of it was that I had been as much a tomboy as Scout was. And I believe my memories of the movie and my memories of the novel are mixed up together. I have read the book a couple of times since high school and I intend to read it again. This book has gotten me excited about it all over again and that if the highest form of praise I can give it.

How did you first discover To Kill a Mockingbird? Was it in high school like most of us or did you discover it by yourself? Please share your memories in the comments section.

Updated: 10/19/2012, uninvitedwriter
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