Atticus Finch's bravery in defending a black man in a segregated community didn't exactly reflect my 1990s suburban life. Mandarin was a middle to upper-middle class area, and the differences were pronounced between a girl clad entirely in Gap versus one decked out in thrift-store finds.
I met Harper Lee 10 years ago, and I will never forget it. I listen to the book on tape (narrated by the exquisite Sissy Spacek) in my car all the time.
I might also have a mockingbird tattoo that my mom would probably say is "overboard."It would be cliche for me to say "To Kill a Mockingbird" changed my life, so I will say "To Kill a Mockingbird" opened my eyes before I knew they were closed, and thank goodness.
I'm fortunate that I grew up in an area where different races mixed without incident.
My high school was mostly white, but a bird's-eye view of the courtyard showed black, white, Asian and Hispanic teens often mingling with people who didn't look just like the other.
The simplicity of setting, the hero, the villain, the narrator and good vs. As a child you understand it; as a teenager you learn from it; and as an adult you are faced with its struggles.
While I might not be a lawyer standing up for an innocent man whose fate is determined by the color of his skin, more than 50 years after its conception, the plight and struggle "To Kill a Mockingbird" deals with remain far too real for our community on a state and national level.It's a theme that sharpens each time I return to the text, and it has resonated even more deeply since I returned to Alabama as an adult.The state has seen great change since the book's publication 55 years ago this month, but the effects of so many social ills linger.I think that is so hopeful, and I love this part because Atticus is teaching his children (and all of us) to be humble, to refuse to take advantage of anyone who is weaker than us, to have a heart and a conscience. EDWARD PARTRIDGEI grew up in Demopolis--the heart of Alabama's Black Belt--in a segregated society.Because both of my parents worked, I was cared for almost exclusively by Henrietta, my grandmother's maid and cook.I had moved from Guinea, in West Africa, and the part in the book when Jem, Scout and Dill sneak into Boo Radley's house and then get frightened by Boo's older brother scared me because while reading it, I had a flashback to when I was a child and we used to play in a dark building and pretend that there was a ghost inside."To Kill a Mockingbird" taught me that during the mid-1900s, not all white people were racists.Some, like Atticus Finch, were against it, and they used whatever power they had to fight it.She is a freelance documentary filmmaker and has a master's degree in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.MARIAM JALLOHI love "To Kill a Mockingbird" because it was the first book I read when I arrived in the United States of America.KENDALL CHEWI first read "To Kill a Mockingbird" when I was in eighth grade, when students in every English class at our school received an incredible amount of context, background, history and literary knowledge while the book was broken down for us for a quarter of the school year. If we had to read to a certain point each night for class, I would read past that point and was so worried I would get in trouble for doing so.One could say this book has stuck with me, and this is where my friends would laugh.