Today, July 11, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. This weekend, The USA Today published a story discussing this literary milestone.
The author, Harper Lee, has remained a mystery for many. Yet, her literary contribution had such a profound impact. Is this book the great American novel? Perhaps I’m biased. However, growing up in Alabama and now practicing law here, I think so. While my question as to the great American novel could spark a lengthy debate, this book would certainly be one of the finalists. Periodically, I will re-read the book or re-watch the excellent movie adaptation.
As I read several articles about this anniversary, I was genuinely surprised to see some recent critics of the novel. In my opinion, these few contemporary criticisms are mis-placed. In making their criticisms, these few critics have largely removed and separated the story from its actual setting, both geographically and historically. A Birmingham News article this morning addressed the few criticisms of the story. No story can be separated from its setting.
If you have not read To Kill A Mockingbird, I would strongly urge you to do so. If you read the book long ago, perhaps back in high school, I would urge you to read it again. It is certainly a story that inspires again and again.