Both of my names came from literary characters. My first name from a beloved Jane Austen character and Scout from the classic book To Kill a Mockingbird.
I didn't read either of my namesake books until well after I was 18 years old. For the Jane Austin read, I saw myself completely in the title character and I almost hated the book as it was like reading my life mannerisms spelled out on the pages. To say I identified with the character I was named for was a gross understatement. I WAS her! And I hated that.
To Kill a Mockingbird was a different story.
Somehow I had managed to avoid reading the book throughout high school. However, I believe had I actually been forced to read the book not of my own free will, I probably would have dismissed the book and hated it forever.
For 18 years, people had remarked to me what a "cute name" I have and "what a wonderful book To Kill a Mockingbird is." I almost didn't want to read the book as a snub to all of humanity. Yeah. I'm named after it, no I'm not going to read it. You can't make me.
Curiosity got the best of me.
Waiting to read this book until I was old enough to truly understand it and was able to appreciate it was one of the best choices I have ever made. I saw myself in my six-year-old namesake character so much it was unbelievable. I was able to grasp at the depth that this book had in a way I never would have noticed in my ignorant high school years. I was able to see the sacrifices Atticus Finch had made. I could understand the rich and sad history behind the novel. I saw Scout grow up throughout the book: I saw her curiosity, her kindness and her bravery. And though she was quite young, I learned from her.
Now, here I am older and... well, just older, and in my hands I have the just-released Go Set a Watchman; the book Harper Lee wrote in the mid 1950s that was released to the public today.
I purposely avoided all press and reviews on this book so I could start fresh and judge it for myself.
I am excited and scared for what this book will hold for me. This time, Jean-Louise Finch and I are only five years apart. Maybe she has more to teach me. Maybe we still have a lot in common...
I'll let you know how it goes....