Thank you, Harper Lee.

Yours was one of the first novels to make me love literature.  Your heroine, Scout, felt the way I often did.  Her world, though a couple of decades earlier than mine and many miles south of Connecticut, introduced me to characters who felt like people living actual lives.  I wanted to get through the story quickly so I could learn what happened.  But time and time again, I stopped to savor a sentence, a phrase, or an image that called for my sustained attention.  You held me to the page, Harper Lee.  You showed me that words could and did make a difference in how I thought, what I considered, who I was. I loved your story,  even though it showed me that we injure and destroy each other. Even though it taught me that love doesn’t fix everything.  Thank you, Harper Lee.  I have never forgotten your gift and I never will.

Mary Sharnick is the author of Orla’s Canvas (Penmore Press), as well as Thirst and Plagued (Fireship Press).

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