To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Sissy Spacek

Miss Lee – Miss Nelle – I didn’t ever read your book in high school; I’m real glad of that, because everything they made me read, I hated, at least until I read it on my own. (I’ll never like Lord of the Flies. ) No, I found To Kill a Mockingbird on my own, a nice little paperback I picked up at a sale because I liked how it felt in my hand and because I’d heard of it, and that was when I discovered how special it was. I loved it. I loved the movie. I loved you for all of it. Mr. Stephen King – I wonder if you ever read him – he said as how writing was telepathy, and you and this book were one reason that made so much sense to me. And then we lost you this year, and of course I had to go find the movie (I bought it), and even though I just read the book a few months ago I wanted to hear it.

Now that I was compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me.

Sissy Spacek was a really lovely narrator. This is one of the only times I have ever paid full price (well, full member’s price) for an audiobook. It was worth it. She did well by you.

I wonder if after everyone lavished attention on you it became something like what Heck Tate was afraid of for Boo. Everyone (and his wife) bringing you angel food cakes, so to speak, and forcing you into the bright light. Not that I’m saying you were Boo Radley, but maybe kind of like me, an introvert, not happy with that sort of thing, even when people meant it to commend you. And I’m sure plenty of folks have said all this sort of thing before, and more, and I’m sure you weren’t too thrilled with that either, so I’ll shut up about it now.

It’s intriguing to read about Dill, and hold up his image next to the vague one I have of Truman Capote. “Well, I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. I’m gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.”

The subtlety of the story, a very grown–up story shown through a child’s eyes, is beautiful. Scout can remark on Hitler “washing the feeble–minded”, and it’s funny – and it’s really, really not funny. All the points are made without much drum–beating. It’s delicate, and powerful, and maybe that’s where the phrase “steel magnolia” comes from.

Anyway. Thank you, ma’am. Till next time.

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2 Responses to To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Sissy Spacek

  1. N. E. White says:

    I read it in school – and loved it. It is one of those books.

  2. stewartry says:

    It is. One of my top five comfort books.

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