When I was in grade nine, every other class read Harper Lee’s only published book: To Kill A Mockingbird. My class read The Pigman by Paul Zindel. I have no idea what Irene Bergeron’s (our English/Reglion/Something-else-that-I-can’t-remember-right-now teacher) rational was. Now as a teacher, I look back and hope that it was some stupid administrative thing. Something like there were only 2 class sets of Mockingbird, but 3 classes needed to do their novel studies at the same time. I pray it was not that we were viewed as incapable of analyzing or enjoying or whatever-ing Lee. But I am pretty sure that, at fourteen, I must have concluded the latter because I really wanted to read Mockingbird. And so, the following summer I read To Kill A Mockingbird all by myself while visiting my Grandmother in Montreal. I remember loving it. It touched me deeply and I was happy to see it on CD at my local library recently. I realize that many of the books I read as a teen and young(er) adult, I must re-read to get a fresh perspective on. So, I re-read Mockingbird via audio book. I love audio books. We often travel long distances and my two-year and I listen to books in the car. The book was read by Sissy Spacek who did a great job. But what if books that are narrated by child characters were read by children for audio recording. A child/teen actor with a southern accent would have made an incredible narrator for this book. Regardless of this minor technical complaint, my love for this book has not been diminish by the years. To Kill A Mockingbird is incredible. A triumph!
But I was struck by something that I don’t think I even noticed last time: it was totally cool to breastfeed! I was shocked that during the courtroom scene that this incredibly intolerant society was completely ok with public breastfeeding. What a turnaround for me! I breastfed, most of my friends breastfed, breast is best and all that. But the resistance by so many members of the public was daunting. All my milk-mom friends have at least one story about their difficulties with old ladies, the hospital, restaurants, clothing stores, malls, siblings, spouses, etc. We have come far in terms of civil rights, even though the gay rights movement and Muslims are still/currently under attack, but we have taken a step back in personal and civil welfare.
Funny that you can get something different from a book every time you read it.