Then I got a look at the list and I realized I wasn't so unlearned after all. What the hell did Judy Blume do to anyone? I was shocked at how many of her books (with the exception of Forever) were challanged.
It was no shock that Harry Potter was listed. I've read and loved all the books, but I figured everyone would be talking about them.
Then I saw To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee on the list, I knew this was the book I had to discuss. It deals with prejudice, hatred and coming of age set in the deep south during the depression. This story has a special place in my heart. You'll find out why as you read on.
The story is told from Scout's point of view, who is a six-year-old girl based on Lee, herself. She has an older brother, Jem, and her father is Atticus Finch, a lawyer.
Atticus is assigned to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a young white woman. Being a stand-up guy, Atticus intends to defend Tom to the best of his ability, much to the chagrin of the citizens of Maycomb, Alabama. Jem and Scout are subjected to the taunts from other children.
At the trial of Tom Robinson, Atticus shows that the accuser and her father, the town drunk, are lying. It's just so obvious! Despite the evidence pointing to Tom's innocence, he is convicted. I was so mad when I read this. It's just so unfair. Tom later tries to escape from prison and is shot and killed.
It's easy to see why some people would want this banned. It forces us to face the injustice, prejudices and imperfections in the justice system.
To this day the ending makes me angry, but it was based on events that happened in Lee's childhood, and real life doesn't have to give us a happy ending.
I loved this book, I loved the movie, and I've never been more proud than when my oldest son played the part of Jem in his school play.
While watching my son perform, I was transported to when I first read the book in high school. I was naive enough to think that Atticus would succeed, Tom would be set free and everyone would see the accuser and her drunken father for the liars they were.
The play brought tears to my eyes. Not because my son was amazing in his part, or that the other kids were a mass of talented young men and women, but because my twelve-year-old daughter pouted all the way to the car:
I asked her what was wrong. She turned to me in anger and said, "I didn't like that play. Tom was innocent. How could people send him to prison just because he's black?"
I put my arm around her and said, "I'm glad you're angry."
Her anger turned to surprise. "Why?"
I said, "Because it proves to me I'm raising you right."
How wonderful is that?