Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 17-A book you've read that changed your views on something

I've read a lot of books.  I love to read, but I have found that I don't have much time for reading lately.  I do tend to read that my family refers to as "beach books".  Novels that tell stories, and don't require much though.  Books you can get lost in because they are completely different than the world you live in.  I love to read Nicholas Sparks, Janet Evonovich, Danielle Steele, and the like.  I also like a good mystery and I even got really into the Twilight series, which is not normally my style, but I really enjoyed.  Clearly none of these books have changed my views on anything.  I just wanted you to get an idea of the normal book I read for enjoyment.

As for a book that has changed my views on something, I have to really think about the different books I have read that are not fluff books.  I think it would be To Kill A Mockingbird.  I don't read books more than once.  Maybe it's because I read a lot of fluff, maybe it's because I don't like to read the same thing over again, maybe it's because I already know the story and how it ends.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that it is very rare for me to read something more than once.  I have read To Kill A Mockingbird 5 times, and only 2 were required for school.

I remember reading it for the first time in middle school, I was in 7th grade.  I actually got in trouble for reading ahead of the rest of the class.  I couldn't stop myself, I wanted to read more, I couldn't take my eyes off this book.  I was fascinated by the ultimately gentle Boo Radley, and that Atticus was willing to risk everything for justice, knowing that most likely in the end he would still lose. 

I was devastated when he did lose.  I didn't understand why justice didn't prevail.  I think that is the real reason I read it so many times.  I kept reading for a different ending.  For Atticus to win the case, for Tom to be free and for the town to realize who wrong they were.  It never changed, the ending was the same everytime.

I think somewhere along the way I understood that even though justice didn't prevail for Tom, it was more about Atticus taking on a case that was never going to be won no matter how right he was.  No matter how much proof he had or how innocent Tom was.  It was about teaching his children not to judge by what other think, but by what you know to be true.  Teaching them that a good man stands by his word and stands up for what is right in the face of adversity.

This was the first book that made me really understand that not all endings were perfect, but that they could still be good.  It pulled me from my world of thinking that everyone and everything was always going to be right because it was supposed to be right.  It made me realize that not everyone was good and had the best intentions.  I would learn this lesson again and again over the years, but I think this was the first time I really saw it.  

I still think this is an amazing book and I would read it again now, but there will always be a part of me looking for an ending where Atticus wins, Tom goes free and the town hangs their heads in shame.  Maybe someday the world will know my ending.  Until then.... 

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