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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

When we were preparing to move to the United States for my father's work, the only book in English I had was To Kill a Mockingbird. I remember the title caught my attention. I felt awful about the words “killing” and “bird.”

As I began the first page, a thunderstorm moved through, knocking out the power and my computer. I read the book from cover to cover as I discovered similarities between Scout and me. There was a huge old tree in our garden and a wall outside with flowers, just like in the book. A big truck pulled up and parked in front of our house; I was frightened of it just like Scout was of Boo Radley's home. I had an elder cousin, sort of like Jem, who often spent time with me, and sometimes I squabbled with him. I have a father who is a teacher as loved and valued as Atticus, though not as old. And so, as I read, I saw myself as Scout.

That summer I read To Kill a Mockingbird again and again. Although I didn't know the history of racism, Lee's descriptive, eloquent language created such a full narrative that I could imagine the setting: the colors, neighbors, and smells came so alive that I thought I could see the town.

There I was in the ninth grade in this new country. I had problems adapting to my new surroundings. It was hard to cope with the social environment and lifestyle. But, lucky for me, our English teacher assigned this novel. So for at least the third time, I lost myself in Harper Lee's classic. The words washed over me and soaked into my soul. I didn't just read; I could feel the power of the story. With my teacher explaining, I found even deeper meaning in it, and I continue to discover more each time I reread it.

That was three years ago. Since then, I have read dozens of books in both English and Turkish, but I haven't read one that aroused the excitement, fear, and hope that I feel every time I read To Kill a Mockingbird, nor has any book encouraged me to be a better friend, sibling, child, and citizen.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

Luckystar78 said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 5:28 am:
I've been thinking about reading it as I've heard all about it...I'll definitely read it now!
 
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johnmarx88 said...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm:
I loved your writing style and effort in writing such a beautiful essay. I like the images that you used. It is lively. That is all what I wanted to say. Keep going.
 
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purple_ashes said...
Dec. 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm:
Amazing book!
 
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SkyDeer said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm:
I've been meaning to read this it sounds like such a good book.
 
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