It’s safe to say at this point in time that those who have not read To Kill a Mockingbird have at least heard about it. For as long as it’s been in print, it’s been a wildly relevant and poplular book. So it’s no surprise that there are books about how much people love it and have been influenced by it. That’s what Scout, Atticus, and Boo by Mary McDonagh Murphy is. A collection of essays by influential people in their fields and just in general (Lookin’ at you Opera) writing about their reading experience and which themes and characters hit home for them.
The particularly fascinating thing about this book is that it was collected and put together well before Go Set a Watchman existed. Some of the opinions hinged on ideas and characters that were significantly altered in Go Set A Watchman. One of my new favorite things to do is look up people who liked To Kill A Mockingbird and find out what they thought of the second book and Scout, Atticus, and Boo is essentially a list of those people.
This book is really a love letter to To Kill A Mockingbird. One point that is made is that everyone you talk to will be able to tell you something a little bit different about their reading experience. I believe that this is true of most books and stories but as Scout, Atticus, and Boo exemplifies To Kill A Mockingbird beautifully captures so many themes and truths that it is impossible to recognize all of them without talking to others about how they read it. If you are at all interested in the influence To Kill A Mockingbird had our just loved the book yourself, this is a good book to check out.
For the record, it appears Mary McDonagh Murphy is re editing both her book and documentary and from the one interview I read seems to have enjoyed Harper Lee’s second book.