"To Kill a Mockingbird" was one of those books for me. I've never seen the full movie, either, although I've seen bits & pieces. (In reading the book, I realized I had actually seen more of the movie than I had thought.)
So I looked forward to (finally!) having an excuse to pick up this book before any of the others in my to-read piles (plural). And it didn't take long before I realized why this book is considered a modern classic -- and why Atticus Finch is considered one of the greatest heroes of modern fiction & movies. I could not help but envision & hear Gregory Peck as I read along. :)
There is something for everyone in this book: it's a coming of age story and a morality play. It's got mystery, history, racism, feminism, and even a tinge of Gothic horror. It's sometimes thought of as a children's book, and it's narrated by a child (or at least an adult looking back on childhood), but it covers some decidedly complex & very adult issues. Which makes it a great selection for a book club discussion.
Here is my question:
Atticus emphasizes to Scout the importance of reserving judgment until you have walked in someone else's shoes. All of us in the ALI community have probably wished that some people would have followed that advice and walked in our shoes before offering us their judgment or opinions on our personal situations (!). But can you think of a time when you found yourself trying on someone else's shoes and considering a different perspective?
There are many times when something has happened in my life to make me look at someone I know in a different light.
For example, as I've mentioned recently, we're getting ready to host about 45 (gulp) of my husband's relatives this weekend at an annual family get-together. I've been thinking back to the first time I met them all -- and I do mean all. It was my future BIL's 21st birthday, and dh decided it was time for me to meet his family.
We were both at different schools in southern Ontario, but met up on the train & headed into Toronto one very hot July Saturday morning, 30 years ago last month. Every single aunt, uncle and cousin from both sides of dh's extended Italian family turned out to celebrate BIL's birthday -- his 21st, his first since his & dh's mother had passed away, several months earlier (before I could ever meet her) -- and, I strongly suspect, to inspect the mangiacake girlfriend. ; )
Italian families were pretty rare in the small Prairie towns where I had grown up. And yet, there was something endearingly familiar in the large family gathering, everyone around me laughing and talking in a language I couldn't understand. I had flashbacks to my childhood -- dozens of aunts, uncles & cousins crammed into my Ukrainian grandparents' tiny farmhouse, speaking in Ukrainian while the smell of cabbage rolls permeated the air.
When I got home that weekend, I called my mother & told her I had never given it much thought before, but I had a whole new sympathy for what it must have been like for her when she first met my dad's family. Even though they grew up only 20 miles apart, it was quite a different atmosphere from the largely Scandinavian community where she had grown up.
I can remember when Nia Vardalos's movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came out, and reading article about why it was a huge hit among all kinds of ethnic groups -- it was because everyone has a family and could relate to some aspect of the story. Needless to say, I could relate. ; )
My dad's sister told me she loved the movie too, because it reminded her of bringing home her Scottish boyfriend. You know the scene where Toula's male cousins teach Ian Greek phrases that aren't quite what they seem? Apparently my dad & his brothers pulled the same stunt on my aunt's boyfriend (my uncle-to-be) 40 years earlier.
That's just one example that I could think of. Now, tell me your stories. : )
After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for To Kill a Mockingbird. You can get your own copy of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee at bookstores including Amazon.