One of the things that made this Christmas so wonderful for me was that I received a dvd of one of my all time favorite movies, To Kill a Mockingbird. Though admittedly, I hadn’t seen it for many, many years, it always remained in my heart as a story that was timeless and whose lessons could never die.
Last night, I popped it into the dvd player and sat back to re-experience this wonderful story. I’m sure most of you have seen it or have read the book – and I’m not going to detail the plot here but I wanted to just reiterate what really good fiction does.
Quite simply, it speaks to life. It is real. It immerses you in its world and does not release you until the story is told and sometimes holds you long after the story is done. The characters somehow endear themselves to you and become part of your lexicon and soul’s self. At least for me, that is what this story does.
Scout, who is the narrator and from whose point of view the story is told – is the classic tomboy, free thinking, irrepressible and an unassuming hero who sees the world through a special and wonderful way. Her brother, Jem, is Scout’s confidant, protector and best friend. Atticus, Scout’s father, is her hero, a constant source of suprise and wonder to her. None of these characters make any attempt to be anything other than what they are – they just are. They all make you believe that being who you are is the best thing you could be and that living a life of value and community means something.
You cannot read this story and walk away unchanged. You cannot see this movie and feel the same as you did before you watched it. Personally, I wouldn’t want to. Secretly, I always wanted to be Scout. To have her courage and pluck – her own world view. And maybe in some small way I have – I hope so.
Good fiction, owns you – and really it shouldn’t be any other way.