Throwback Thursday: To Kill a Mockingbird

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books. We choose a book we remember fondly and recommend to our adoring readers to add to their To Read Pile. Plus, we get to link up and all give our fellow bloggers some comment love. Win-Win! This week, and for several weeks following, I am going to test my hypothesis about required reading for high school English, and it is this:

If you go back and read it as an adult, you will probably like it.

I encourage you to return to the classroom with fresh eyes and read the classics for the pure joy of reading. You might actually like the novel without having to think about the homework.

I’m going to start this series of throwbacks with my favorite book ever to read or teach – To Kill a Mockingbird.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird (often heard by my students as Tequila Mockingbird – what is with that?) opens up the world of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s through the eyes of a beloved narrator, Jean Louise Finch. We all call her Scout. The novel seamlessly ties together the hilarious childhood antics of Scout, her brother Jem, and their neighbor Dill with the highly-charged racial tensions in the American South, played out in the town streets, church society meetings, the school yard, a small town courtroom, and finally Scout’s own neighborhood. Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, one of the greatest heroes in all literature, shows his children how to “climb in a man’s skin and walk around in it,” and everyone is better for it. The novel bursts with character and charm. Harper Lee captures the nuances of speech and mannerisms in each of her characters, revealing their courage, weakness, and humanity. It’s simply a beautiful, beautiful book. If you hated this book as a high school student, please give it another shot (not of tequila).

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  1. #1 by Mandi Kaye (@mandikaye) on June 14, 2012 - 7:53 am

    I am ashamed to say that I never actually read this book. 😦

  2. #2 by kellywiggains on June 14, 2012 - 7:56 am

    See? You can read it now, and not feel guilty any longer. It’s the best. It really, really is.

  3. #3 by Lauren@The Housework Can Wait on June 14, 2012 - 8:02 am

    I liked this book even in high school. I liked a lot of my required reading, actually (although definitely not all of it – Grapes of Wrath, UGH). But that’s probably part of what made me a big ol’ nerd in high school 🙂

    Also, you know your students would be all over it if it was really called “Tequila Mockingbird.”

    Great Throwback! I also am very tempted to start featuring some of the classics, so hopefully our posts won’t overlap 🙂 Here’s mine!

  4. #4 by Sarah @ Breaking the Binding on June 14, 2012 - 8:09 am

    This was one of only a handful of books that were required reading in school that I actually ended up enjoying. I love this book and try to reread it every few years. Great pick!

  5. #5 by Elizabeth on June 14, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    I, too, loved this book even in high school. Although, I was one of those nerds who loved almost every book in high school (The Mayor of Casterbridge by Hardy being a notable exception) but read it too quickly and couldn’t remember the tiny details by the time the final test rolled around.

  6. #6 by Kendal on June 14, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    This is a classic! Such a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. #7 by Jessica Howard (@quirkybookworm) on June 14, 2012 - 3:44 pm

    I liked this book a lot in high school — but listened to it on audio book last year, and LOVED it. I think as a parent now I especially enjoyed Atticus’s character, whereas as a teen I identified with Scout more.

  8. #8 by Kristen Jones on June 16, 2012 - 10:52 pm

    This wasn’t a required read for me in high school…although plenty of others were. I, too, have discovered that re-reading high school requirements make for a whole new literary experience as an adult. After reading The Help last summer I went out and bought To Kill a Mockingbird because of all of the references. It’s still in my “To Read” pile but I hope to get to it soon!

  9. #9 by kellywiggains on June 17, 2012 - 4:15 am

    Kristen, if you liked The Help, you’ll love TKAM. While The Help is a great read, I didn’t really think of it as “ground-breaking” or “eye-opening” in race relations. It’s just a good story. TKAM, actually written in the time of civil unrest, was truly a remarkable book because of its literary worth and its timeliness in publication.

  10. #10 by Cindie on June 20, 2012 - 12:49 pm

    Found your “Throwback Thursday” from your link on the Daily Post. So glad I did! Count me in among the “book nerds” in high school that really enjoyed most of my required reading, but I never had to read this one. I’m absolutely on my to-read pile now :).

  11. #11 by kellywiggains on June 20, 2012 - 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Cindie! And welcome. I talk a lot of book stuff on this space, so feel free to relish in your book nerdery. Come back anytime.

  12. #12 by megsays on June 21, 2012 - 8:34 am

    oh my, I definitely agree that this should be in everyone’s “to-read” pile if they haven’t yet! It was probably my most favorite required reading title back in school, (especially considering I despised being told what to read.) Nice choice!

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