The entry begins:
Writing Wilde Lake, I needed to shut down any thoughts of movies, especially one particular movie and one particular actor. It was imperative that I banish Gregory Peck from my mind. Which is ironic, because I never think of Peck when I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the book when I was 11 or 12 and had not yet seen the film. In my mind, Atticus Finch looked more like Wally Cox, whom I knew from Hollywood Squares: Slender, be-spectacled. If you remember the book, Scout describes her father as "old," relative to other fathers, not someone inclined to throw a ball around with his son. That's why the scene when he shoots the rabid dog is so vivid; Jem and Scout have no idea that their father is a crack shot.Visit Laura Lippman's website.
But, perhaps because I'm middle-aged now, I did begin to wonder if Atticus Finch was celibate. Whether he looks like Gregory Peck or Wally Cox, it seems unlikely, doesn't it? There would have been women eager to provide companionship to a widower with a good job. And if he wasn't keeping company with women in public, well -- you can see where I'm going with this. To Kill a Mockingbird is a child's eye view of the world until its final paragraph, which suggests that Scout...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Wilde Lake.
My Book, the Movie: Wilde Lake.