Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Scout

That's right, this is the season of Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch's 50th birthday. Of course, because it's the anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, it's also the 50th birthday of all the novel's characters, including Atticus Finch, Jem, Dill, Boo Radley, Calpurnia and the Ewells, just to name a few.

In some ways, it's hard to believe that Harper Lee's classic has been around for half a century. In a lot of other ways, it's hard to believe that its only 50 years old. I've written about To Kill a Mockingbird before, so I won't go into the plot points again. It is one of my most-read books though. I can't remember how old I was the first time I read it, but I think it must have been either grade 5 or grade 6. By the time I was reading it under my desk (instead of paying attention in class) in grade 8, my copy was already well-worn. When we studied it in class the following year, I was the only one in the room who had already read it.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most challenged books in North America, and I would like to think that celebrating its 50th anniversary - and recognizing why it has remained a relevant story for so long - will change that. It won't, I'm sure, and the thought of kids growing up without the novel makes me very sad indeed. That being said, I had been reading it for years before I ever studied it in class, so perhaps I needn't worry.

Happy Birthday To Kill a Mockingbird, you wear your age well.

Image shown the cover image of the Lippincott edition of To Kill a Mockingbird.

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