I've started reading Book #99 in my list, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The first thing I've noticed is how much easier the reading style is compared to the Lord of the Rings series. Where Tolkien uses pages and pages of detailed description, Lee just keeps us in the mind of the main character, a young girl named Scout Finch. We see her world through her eyes.
So far the story is centered around Scout and her brother Jem. They are being raised by their father, Atticus Finch with the help of their housekeeper, Calpurnia. In the early chapters we get to share in the antics of the brother and sister playing in their yard and neighbourhood and it makes me nostalgic for my childhood. Not that I did all the things these characters do, but the imagination involved in their play triggers a lot of memories.
I also actually laughed out loud when reading about Scout's first day at school and how she was reprimanded for knowing how to read. "Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me anymore, it would interfere with my reading". Scout's experiences at school while slightly traumatic for her, were very funny for me.
When you are a child, your world is smaller. You know your street and your school and that's about it. So it's not surprising that much of Scout and Jem's mischief centres around their neighbours, especially one Arthur "Boo" Radley. Boo is a mystery to the children and they are fascinated with his history and they treat him almost as a ghost.
Atticus, the Dad in this story, is really impressive. He is so even keeled, so level of temper, it's really quite amazing. He clearly loves his children and wants them to be honorable people, yet he gives them the freedom to make their own mistakes. When they inevitably do, he stands by them and though discipline may be required, he never wavers in his love and care. He lets his children be themselves but at the same time expects them to behave courteously to their neighbours, even when that courtesy is not returned.
Harper Lee drew me in to this story in the first paragraph and I'm looking forward to reading the second half of the book.