It’s Banned Book Week this week and I am going back into the vault to dust off and return to a classic, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. How this book was ever banned, I just don’t understand. Well, unfortunately, I do. Fear, ignorance, control, and whatever all that mess is that goes into limiting the scope and viewpoints and minds of people, that’s what. And it’s such a shame, because this is a glorious book.

At a time when people weren’t writing like this, Harper Lee put out a beautifully written book about the coming of age of young Scout and Jem Finch the summer their daddy Atticus Finch was set to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman in the small southern spot of Maycomb County, Alabama. And if that isn’t a lot to consider, consider this: It was published in 1960 at a time when race relations where top of mind across the country. Wait now. It’s 2010 and race relations are still top of mind across the country. And 50 years later, this book is still painfully and so importantly relevant.

Now, I know for a fact that I am not likely to shed any new light on Lee’s masterpiece for which she earned the Pulitzer Prize. This book has been read and dissected far too many times and ways for me to have a new little nugget. And while I think everyone has read it, perhaps that’s not the case, so I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Just know this: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, to me, is a story about relationships.

“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something, and don’t you forget it–whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” Atticus Finch

It’s about how we are supposed to treat one another, not how we aren’t.

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by a majority rule is a person’s conscience.” Atticus Finch

It’s about the similarities people share and in how much greater abundance they are than our differences.

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” Scout Finch

I would encourage anyone to pick this up again; and if you haven’t, don’t delay. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a masterpiece.

Rating: 5 stars
Pages: 336