Scout Forever. Vive la Mockingbird!

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”~ Harper Lee, from To Kill a Mockingbird

Scout and Jem and Dill. Dill, fashioned after Lee’s childhood neighbour, Truman Capote. Scout has always been a symbol of strength, perseverance, and, curiosity for me…a beautiful character.

I will never forget the joy that Harper Lee’s unforgettable novel To Kill a Mockingbird has given me. Jem and Scout were my friends. Scout was the flawless curious, rebellious girl. One of my two favourite characters in all of fiction (Zooey Glass being the other one).

Harper Lee – Arguably, the author of THE Great American Novel.

But Atticus Finch? He was FATHER. He was the world’s father. Every time I dissect this novel, it comes up differently. One time, it’s a story about racial tensions and racism. One time, it’s a coming of age story. One time, it’s a look into mental illness and the misunderstanding of the things we fear the most. One time, it’s a story of love and family. One time, it’s the deep south and its struggles.

"To Kill a Mockingbird"
Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird” – He brought Atticus Finch to life like nobody else could. America’s Father…the world’s father.

I will always read To Kill a Mockingbird at least once a year. And every time I do it, I will tip my hat to the woman who wrote the beautiful Great American Novel.

Robert Duvall stopped time when he appeared on the screen as Boo Radley. SO brief an appearance, and completely and forever unforgettable.

Harper Lee had a whole life of 89 years. Many know little about her, myself included. But I know that she touched my heart irrevocably. Scout, Boo, Atticus…these are characters that live in my head every day. I can’t thank her enough for introducing them to me. Long may they live.

Godspeed, Miss Lee. Thank you for such a beautiful legacy of words.

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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