A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (REVIEW)

This was the one that started it all, man. I can still remember, with pristine clarity, the day that I was handed this book to read. I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, wrapping up what was probably the most embarrassing period of my life: middle school. I was a mess. I had no idea what I was doing with myself. I don’t think any of the choices I made at that age were actually things that I wanted to do. I was a pawn in pretty much everyone’s game - sort of like Tom Robinson, but with much less at stake.

I walk into the local public library, where I am to be meeting my new English tutor - a Greek fella named Casey. As I draw near the tables in the back, where the tutors typically congregate, I see a man with a smile that appears to be permanently etched on to his face. Upon seeing me, he bolts up and shoots his hand forward, inviting me to participate in what is, to this day, one of the finest handshakes I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Then, he sits me down and slaps a book down right in front of me.

“Read this.”

Now, at this point, sitting down and reading a book was probably the last thing I wanted to do. I had been a fan of short mystery novels when I was a kid, but, aside from sifting through the Guinness Book of World Records, I had yet to develop an affinity for literature. Even those Harry Potter books seemed to pass me by. I liked watching That 70s Show, and I liked eating string cheese. Copious amounts of string cheese.

But that all changed on this fateful day. I don’t know what it was about Casey, but he just had this pure energy about him. I trusted him. So, I went home and started reading the book. Within weeks, I had finished it (something I struggle to do even these days). As soon as I slammed that back flap shut, I knew I had found a new love. There was no doubt in my mind: I had become a reader.

Not a particularly fast one, nor a very committed one (I cannot even begin to tell you how many half-read books adorn my shelf). But a reader, nonetheless.

And all over a book that might actually have not even been written by the author it is credited to. Don’t believe me?

Think about it: Harper Lee only wrote one book (I am not counting the lost manuscripts that ended up getting published the year prior to her death) and it is an American classic. What is more likely - that, or that her good friend Truman Capote may have had a hand in the matter?

Hmm. Sounds like a mystery fit for...well, Truman Capote.

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