It is (I say without hyperbole) a perfect novel.
I love it so.
Ramona and I finished reading it aloud today and I'm so glad we lived it together instead of my having "assigned" it. This was, after all, my last opportunity to experience Mockingbird for the first time with one of my daughters.
Betsy told Ramona, before we started the book, "You can't really know how good it is until you finish it."
Today Ramona concurred.
Our other read for May was Thornton Wilder's Our Town. This, too, is a book I thrust into my children's hands and say, "I loved this play desperately when I first read it. Forty years later, I still love it. I hope you will, too." Then I add, "But ... umm ... no pressure, y'know?"
I am a lucky, lucky woman though because all three of my daughters willingly clasp these books to their hearts and look back into my eyes, happily, and with tears.
Emily: "Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners ... Mama and Papa. good-by to clocks ticking and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths ... and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. (She looks toward the Stage Manager and asks abruptly through her tears):
Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? -- every, every minute?"
Stage Manager: "No. (Pause.) The saints and poets, maybe -- they do, some."
Our Town was inspired by Edgar Lee Masters' "Lucinda Matlock" and the works share a common theme: life is mundane and profound; it is nothing and it is everything. It is the stuff of saints and poets.
by Edgar Lee Masters
I went to the dances at Chandlerville,
And played snap-out at Winchester.
One time we changed partners,
Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,
And then I found Davis.
We were married and lived together for seventy years,
Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,
Eight of whom we lost
Ere I had reached the age of sixty.
I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,
I made the garden, and for holiday
Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,
And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,
And many a flower and medicinal weed—
Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.
At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,
And passed to a sweet repose.
What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,
Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?
Degenerate sons and daughters,
Life is too strong for you—
It takes life to love Life.
The Poetry Friday round up is at Reflections on the Teche this week.