What Harper Lee Gave to Me

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Harper Lee is dead.

Tears welled in my eyes as I read the news. Weird since I’d never met her. Hell until 20 years ago I’d never read a single thing by her, not that she had a lot of words in the world. Just one book (I won’t count that monstrosity published recently).

I’ve read To Kill a Mocking Bird countless time since my very first time. In fact, I make a point to read it once a year, as a reminder of what a great book sounds like, what it invokes for the reader.

Harper Lee gave me so much.

Before I even knew she was a she.

She gave me my first literary love in Jem.

My first regret at not growing up in an era like that (Okay, my only regret if I’m honest).

She gave me Boo. An anti hero if there ever was one.

I can’t repay even a small bit of what she gave me. But today, on the day of her death at the age of 89, I offer this. Harper Lee, you gave me a reason to look for more, a reason to seek what is beyond the obvious. A reason to hope for a future.

Thank you.