There are certain books that really stick with you growing up, ones that impact you profoundly, shaping your view of the world. For me one of those books was Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird, set in deep south Alabama this compelling Pulitzer Prize winner has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and tells the coming of age tale of young girl named Scout and her brother Jem, as they navigate the dusty southern town during the depression and the trial of local black man who is wrongly accused of rape. The novel is written from the Scout's point of view, giving an interesting perspective to adults attitudes to race and class in the deep south during the late 30's, and my first real eye opener into the historical racial and political struggles across the pond.
To celebrate the release of Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's second novel, which has taken the literary world by storm seeing the largest number of sales since JK Rowling's Harry Potter, I was invited to Bristol's own Mockingbird Cafe to attend a fab book group discussion of the classic novel while enjoying some of the Deep South Culinary delights.
As we gathered to discuss our fond memories of the book and how we felt after revisiting it as an adult, we had the opportunity to tuck into chunks of rich delicious Lane Cake and buttery Southern Tea cakes noted in novel, as well as Devilled eggs, Buttermilk Biscuits, Molasses Baked Ham, Pickles and Pimento Cheese, giving us a true flavour of a the Deep South, I mean what better way to spend a morning and lift the words of a page than by sharing a brunch and a bygone era with friends?
I remember the teacher who handed me my first copy of this book and being asked to read the first chapter as homework, after taking in the first few pages I became engrossed and spent the next three nights with a flash light under my duvet, pouring over the words until falling asleep exhausted. I loved how it described the decay and corruption of small town and the infamous line of beloved character Atticus Finch:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Picking up this classic has made me want to revisit some more of my old favourites or those that help shaped me growing up. On my thirteenth birthday my dad tasked me with completing the beast that is Papillon, another fab read if you fancy it. For those who haven't read To Kill A Mockingbird I can't recommend it enough and I know that I can't wait to get my hand on the sequel.
What was your favourite book growing up?