My Father and Atticus Finch by Joseph Madison Beck is a memoir about his father, Foster Beck, and the similarities he shares with Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Ever since I read To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high, it has been one of my favorite books. So I was intrigued by the possibilities of similarities between Atticus Finch and Mr. Beck.
The case is a young white woman, Elizabeth Liger, accused a black man, Charles White, of rape in 1938. After the Scottsboro decisions, W.L. Parks, the judge proceeding over the case, wanted Mr. White to have “first class representation.” Foster Beck is reluctant to take on the case but is persuaded to take the case. Mr. Beck poured every effort into his representation of Mr. White and insurance that he receive a fair trial. Just as in the case in To Kill a Mockingbird, this case had many holes and doubts about the defendant’s guilty. However, given the social and political injustice of the time, the case was really over before it began.
I enjoyed My Father and Atticus Finch. It is a great memoir of a lawyer who believed in his client, despite his race, and defended him to the best of his ability. The parallels between Foster Beck and Atticus Finch are striking. Mr. Joseph Beck said that he wrote to Ms. Lee about his father’s case and she claims to have never heard of it. I wonder if she simply refused to acknowledge that she was influenced by the case or had forgotten that she had heard about the case. Either way, I enjoyed reading about a man who was a living, breathing Atticus Finch. A man who didn’t see race as much as he saw injustice upon his fellow man. I highly recommend My Father and Atticus Finch.
My Father and Atticus Finch
will be available on June 21, 2016
on Amazon in hardcover $25.95
and on the Kindle for $13.49