Posted by: pendrops | June 3, 2006

vacation in maycomb

“And he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

I finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird the other night. And I cried. Not just because of the poignant, tender ending. And not just because Scout would never see Boo again. But because my time in Maycomb County had ended.

There’s something magical about the place where Harper Lee takes her readers. Something enchanting about Scout, Jem and Dill as they live, play and grow. Something idyllic about Atticus and the way he lives.

“He lives the same way at home as he does in public,” Miss Maudie told the children.

Maycomb wasn’t perfect, I remembered on my third reading. Mrs. Dubose, Bob Ewell, and civil injustice posed real and perceived threats to the children, Atticus and the nation. And still, it was a charming and enticing world in which I found myself these past few weeks. Charming because of the children’s curiosity about Boo. Enticing because of Atticus’ refreshing integrity in a world of spineless men.

Like a vacation where normal patterns and regular places are left behind for something more invigorating and extraordinary, I briefly chose the deep South of 1932 over 2006 with its Starbucks drive-thru’s, iPods, and 24.

Now, I don’t believe in using fiction – or anything – as a means of escaping reality. We’re meant to live our lives, right where we are. But like the letdown you might feel on the way home from a vacation, I felt sadness at leaving Atticus, Jem, Scout and the others behind. I dreaded seeing the blank final page and closing the hard black cover.

But I was also thankful to have been there again. I can carry with me the memories of that fiction world and my strange place as a real human in the midst of it. And, like a favorite vacation spot, I can always pick up my used and bruised copy and visit anytime.

Thanks for inviting me to Maycomb, Harper. I’ll be back again soon.



  1. You make me want to read it!

  2. Wonderfully written. It is extrememly refreshing reading a modern day analysis of such a spectacular book. I can’t believe Jason has not read this….take it and put it in his hands. I read this for the first time as a young teenager, and while other friends touted their latest football or baseball heroes, my hero became Atticus Finch. To me, he embodied what being a “man” was about…not because he could swing a bat, but because he was a good parent, he was a good citizen, he was a good MAN…..and because he lived the same way at home as he did in public. He did not want or expect any accolades. When he had to shoot the dog, he didn’t stand up and self congratulate – “who’s the man!?!?!”….”did you see that shot? Dang, am I good or what??!?!?!”. He did what he had to do, and didn’t portray it as being anything else. His humility and his integrity are inspriring. Thanks for this stroll down memory lane.

  3. OK OK, people!!!! I’m convinced! I’ll read it!

    (after I finish Christ Plays…, Walden, and a few others that are already in my lineup.


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