Today I’m taking part in the International Authors’ Day Blog Hop sponsored by Debdatta over at http://www.b00kr3vi3ws.in. As a participant, I am giving away one free ebook copy of my novel, Voodoo Butterfly. You can find out more info about this event and how to win other great bookish prizes below. Debdatta has asked all participants to discuss our favorite book or author on our blog, so here I go…
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of those books that I’ve reread since childhood and wondered how did I “get it” as a child. All the characters in that novel point out how we, as humans, judge others by their outer appearance rather than their inner qualities. Boo Radley: social outcast. Mayella Ewell: white trash. Tom Robinson: black man. In the real world of knee-jerk judgments, Atticus becomes Scout’s compass in navigating the cast of characters in her small town. In fact, he even becomes our compass in understanding a world that is messy and unfair. He tries to right the wrongs in a climate of racial prejudice. These are some big concepts for kids to intellectually juggle.
But aren’t children the best suited to recognize the absence of justice? The concept of fairness reaches deep down inside of you, especially as a child when you have such little power in this world. I read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in middle school, a time in life which is the magnifying glass of inequality. It’s a time when you’re measured by the type of clothes you wear, the kind of shoes your family can afford. Everything is superficial. Bullying runs rampant. You are either a Somebody or a Nobody.
Atticus Finch has become my favorite character in all of fiction (so much so that if I had a second boy, Atticus was my top name choice). Besides being a champion for justice, I admire how he raises his two young kids as a single father. He teaches Scout to read at such a young age, skipping the children’s books and going straight for the newspaper. In To Kill a Mockingbird, we get to see Scout grow from the tender ages of six to nine. Over the course of the novel, Atticus talks to both of his kids about hard truths in a way that acknowledges their intelligence yet preserves their innocence.
My son is seven, smack dab in that magical age where the world still shines. He doesn’t judge people based on their outward appearance. He makes judgments based on if they are “mean” or “nice.” But he is growing and we have conversations about the gray areas.
“Sometimes kids have a difficult life at home,” I try to explain when he is being bullied on the playground. Sometimes people are just born bad. I may think that but I don’t tell him that yet, because I want to preserve his innocence for as long as I can. Before life shows him that lesson.
Atticus represents justice in an unjust world. Until now…
Two days ago I received my copy of Go Set a Watchman. I can’t open it. The news networks have been reporting about how Harper Lee portrays Atticus as a racist in this novel. I literally cannot believe that. How can she do that?!
Why would Harper do this? Why would Atticus do that? As an artist, I am guessing that Harper Lee is trying to say that life is not always fair. Things are not always easily understood. Maybe something really terrible happens to Atticus to make his character change so completely. In life that happens sometimes. Even the best of us can give in to the darkness within. That’s scary, but it can also be the truth.
About Camille Faye
Camille Faye lives in Missouri, loves on her family, and writes during the baby’s naptime. The Northwest Houston RWA named her novel, Voodoo Butterfly, a 2013 Lone Star Contest finalist. Camille’s stories are inspired by her experiences growing up in a haunted house and her travels to 27 countries and counting! Read an excerpt of Voodoo Butterfly at www.camillefaye.com.
About Voodoo Butterfly
When twenty-five-year-old Sophie Nouveau inherits her grandmother’s voodoo shop, she knows nothing about voodoo. Or her family’s history of Mind Changers who have the power to change evil people good. To complicate matters, someone doesn’t want Sophie in New Orleans and sends a series of death threats to scare her away from her new enchanted life.
Tipped off by her grandmother’s ghost, Sophie realizes her mind changing spell has been missing one magic ingredient: true love. If Sophie cannot experience transformative love, she cannot make her spell work, and she will be powerless to fight back when confronted by the one who wants her dead.
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