Pinky's Book Link

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dear Harper Lee: The Rainbow Connection

To Kill a Mockingbird

Dear Ms Harper Lee,

For the last two days I’ve been reading your book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (or “To Kill a Monkingbird”, which is how Scotto and I saw it incorrectly labelled in a video shop one day and fell about laughin’ fit to die until we thought we might be kicked out by the pimply teenager in charge of the store).

Heck, I read your book in grade twelve under the duress of my teacher, then again when I was a more mature thirty year old, and then yesterday.

I’m sorry for the peculiar fussing that went on regarding your book Ms Harper.

First there were rumours you didn’t write the book and that it was your childhood friend, Truman Capote, who wrote it and now people are casting doubt that you, now 88 years old, wrote the sequel, Go Set A Watchman (which is about to be released), set 20 years after your first book. 

I reckon back in 1960 there would be some backlash to a woman winning the Pulitzer prize, but questioning your authorship today is just ‘plain damn mean’, as Scout Finch would say.

I know this seems mighty pretentious but I have to mention to you my favourite quotes and pretty turns of phrase in your book. 

Not only that, but in light of the recent Rainbow= Equal marriage rights debate, I cannot help but feel your book’s relevance today. The principles and concepts your book is founded on, perfectly reflect the unjustifiable fear, judgement and suspicion surrounding the concept of gay marriage today. The Christian hypocrisy evident towards the African Americans back then seems mighty similar to what's going on now.

I know it was naïve of me but the day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States I went to work, whistling in joy, thinking… well that’s it then folks, no more race problems; the most powerful job in the world has just been given to an African American, no one can be racist now, can they? Hmmm. didn’t quite work out like that did it? 
I'll bet you cheered that day though, Ms Harper.

Anyhow, this isn’t a book review, just a tribute to some of the luscious description you’ve used. Golly gosh you’re a genius with words Ma’am. I’m afraid I sat like a ding bat as I read, scribbling down the particular phrases that struck me as pure gold.

I love the way Scout described her ancestor, Simon Finch as a man, “whose piety was exceeded only by his stinginess.” It made me chuckle and brought to mind a few people I know.

One of my favourites was this quote,

“Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweet talcum.”

Made me want to eat teacake and cover myself with baby powder…

In describing the teacher you said, 

“She looked and smelled like a peppermint drop.”

Although Atticus Finch was such an admirable man you captured his strength and Scout’s respect for him with descriptions like these,

“His voice was like the winter wind.” “He pinned me to the wall with his good eye.” And “His voice was deadly.”

Your description of Mr Ewell on the witness stand was so outstanding I had to read it several times before I could go on,

“… a little bantam cock of a man strutted to the stand, the back of his neck reddening at the sound of his name.”

Your account of the women at the missionary meeting made me laugh and cringe.

“She played her voice like an organ.”


“Her voice soared over the clink of coffee cups and the soft bovine sounds of the ladies munching their dainties.”

But although I wallowed joyfully in your melodious words the messages in your book truly hit home.

Scout: “Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.”

Aunt Alexandra on inviting Walter Cunningham home for dinner: “I didn’t say not to be nice to him. You should be friendly and polite to him, you should be gracious to everybody, dear. But you don’t have to invite him home.”

Scout: “Now Jem, I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

Atticus: “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

Scout: “Atticus, he was nice.” Atticus: “Most people are Scout, when you finally see them.”

Ms Harper, you gave the reason you never followed up with another book after “To Kill a Mockingbird”, was because you’d said all you had to say.

Why shoot, I reckon I can see your point. But I damn well can’t wait for the next one.

Love Pinky xxx

Do you scribble down beautiful phrases as you read or am I the only one? Have you read this timeless book?

Linking up with Grace from With Some Grace for #FYBF