FAIR WARNING: This post is more a reflection than a traditional namastephanie post. It’s more personal than informative. Just so you know!
I don’t generally react very strongly to celebrity deaths. Death is an unfortunate reality of life, and I’ve always felt celebrity culture was kind of on the other side of a window. Fun to look at every now and then, but not really part of my world, so it doesn’t shake mine very easily.
The news of Harper Lee’s death struck me differently.
I first read To Kill A Mockingbird in tenth grade. How old are you in tenth grade? 15 going on 16, I think? So it was about nine years ago. I don’t think life was very complicated in tenth grade, but then again, I’m an adult now, and adults have a tendency to forget what being a teenager is actually like.
So yeah, I’m probably glamorizing the past.
The theme in Honors English that year was the American dream. We talked a lot about the American dream from the perspective of PoC, and I think it might have started my interest in sociology. TKAM was the first book I ever for class I read ahead of the assigned reading. It engrossed me.
Fast forward a couple years. I had hit a rough patch in my life. I had my boyfriend (of the time) drive me to Barnes and Noble. I had one thing on my mind to comfort me, and that was To Kill A Mockingbird.
I picked up my copy, that is now very well worn, and held it to my chest. I held it there until I checked out. I don’t know why I felt the pull, but I think in the moment, my heart needed to be reminded of some of the themes; that not everything is fair, you can’t understand someone until you live their life, etc.
I know Harper Lee lived a long life, and I hope it was a full one. Her spirit has inspired me through hard times. It will live on in the pages of her books. ❤
What books have had an influence in your life? Let me know in the comments!