professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Scout's namesake

I AM SCOUT (Holt, April 2008)

I will readily admit that I picked up this book because I was tickled with the title. Our lovely Bengal, Scout, is named in honor of that wonderful character from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. My pal Suzanne has a Bengal named Atticus and this seemed a perfect way to go even though Scout is a boy (now neutered so perhaps that works after all).

All this is prelude to the book itself which is a MUST read for any self respecting English teacher, particularly one who uses TKAM as a core text in her or his classroom (and according to research, this is still one of the most often used books in secondary classrooms). It has been a while since I have read TKAM or even seen the movie starring Gregory Peck. None of that made a bit of difference in my interest in the book and the enjoyment it provided me this afternoon.

Harper Lee's work remains a staple of literature. She remains an enigma. She is in good company when you think of Salinger and others whose one book was never joined by another title. Actually, it seems to me to be sort of wrongheaded. I mean, you write one of the great American novels and all folks can ask is, "so what's next?"

Charles Shields adapted his adult biography for this one aimed at teens. I think the true audience will be English teachers who will use it, I hope, at least in part to demonstrate to students how books come to be, how life affects and influences art, how much truth and fiction dance cheek to cheek.
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