To Kill a Mockingbird: My Thoughts Then and Now

I'm now on chapter 28 (out of 31) of To Kill a Mockingbird. Getting close to the end. Wow, this book is still amazingly good, and so much different than I remember it being. But, to be fair, I didn't remember much about it. (More about why I'm re-reading it in this post.)

Going into reading To Kill a Mockingbird the first time, I thought the book was all about Boo Radley. I had heard a lot about Boo Radley from my classmates, I guess? I remember thinking, "I'd better read To Kill a Mockingbird before I graduate from high school, or I'll be the only person in the country who hasn't." I think I chose it for a free-choice reading assignment.

Well, it wasn't all about Boo Radley. I was kind of confused by that, and kept waiting for more to happen with Boo. Eventually I figured out the book was really about the trial of Tom Robinson. At least, it was for me. A book about a girl named Scout and her dad named Atticus and the trial of Tom Robinson.

Second time through, though, and I'm changing my stance. Since I already remembered that the book's not all about becoming friends with Boo Radley, and since I already knew the outcome of the trial (though I had forgotten the second outcome we see with Tom), I've been able to read the book more slowly and really savor it.

It's definitely a book about Scout, growing up. I mean, obviously, right? But, I dunno, that's not what I would have said before, because that's not what stuck in my brain last time.

This time I'm totally waiting to see how Jem breaks his arm. That's the first line of the book, right? That's ostensibly what the book is all about: Scout explaining how Jem broke his arm. We'll see what happens, because his arm is still whole at this point.

This time I'm much more attuned to all the after-the-trial stuff. Last time, I guess I thought everything after the trial was denouement. I'm not so sure this time. I'm fascinated by the break in at Judge Taylor's house, Link Deas's standing beside his cook. Scout's moment at the missionary circle, practicing "being a lady" despite the news she just heard.

Plus, what's going to happen with her and Dill? Probably nothing conclusive...I mean, nothing more conclusive than them either remaining affianced or splitting up...but I remember nothing about this. And I wonder (hope) there will be more about him in Go Set a Watchman.

Interesting fact: My kids asked me why the book was called To Kill a Mockingbird and I actually knew what to say! I'll tell you what I told them. It's called To Kill a Mockingbird because it's a book about making good choices. Killing a mockingbird would be a bad choice.

Ashlee chimed in on Facebook with the following:
Alysa!!!! I love you. Thank you for doing this! And I told you... SOOOOO good. I'm glad you are enjoying it. If you didn't I'd feel bad. Man. I so wish you could come over and talk about it. Atticus is amazing and obviously my favorite, but there are so many LAYERS to the book and themes that get taught in subtle ways along side the obvious ones. Ahhhh! So good! I really hope the sequel is worth it, but I'm super grateful you are making sure first! Is it making you laugh too? It's such a serious book. We always talk about the heavy stuff, we never talk about how funny it is!
Yes! It is making me laugh. I've totally chuckled out loud. Also smiled, also felt heartwarmed and disgusted and conflicted and exultant and creeped out and nervous and relieved. No wonder it won the Pulitzer prize, right?

And no wonder there are so many t-shirts. I have just spent too  much time looking at all the t-shirts. :) Which one is your fave? I kid of like this one the best.
Ok, that's enough of that. Time to go read some more! And clean my house! 

Did you have to read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school?
p.s. Images in this post are affiliate links. Except my graduation picture,obviously. If you make a purchase through my affiliate links I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. I'm required by law to tell you this, even though you already know it. Atticus would want us to comply with the law, wouldn't he?


  1. Haha! If I knew you were going to post my thoughts I would have written something more profound... a few less exclamation points :) haha! To share one example of what I meant about layered themes... take Boo, Tom, Dill... they are such different, different characters and yet they share the experience of being rejected. It's interesting to see how people treat them and why, and the lessons that people who interact with them learn about kindness and friendship and justice. Their experiences are unique and yet they aren't at the same time, you know? "There's only one kind of folks, folks." As Scout would say. I think the book really shows how much more we have in common than different, and how each of us deserves to be treated with love and respect.

    Keep writing! I'm enjoying this!

    1. Ooh, I hadn't thought about Boo, Tom and Dill all being rejected in various ways. I mean, I did think of that while I was reading their stories, but didn't put it all together in a single thought. Bob Ewell is also rejected.


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