Monday, August 3, 2015

Day two, starting half way through

Wait, this is on again? I was watching Unreal, a TV drama about the making of a reality TV show.

Here's that one girl from Chris' season (Clare?) going on a one-on-one with Mikey. Mikey, the muscle monkey. Mikey, with tattoos who says things like, "Deep down, I have always had like this fifth grade crush on you and I think you're like so awesome." Their date is to simulate sex in yoga poses. No kidding. They will be focusing on the four chakras--the heart, the mind, the groin, and the butt chakras. They must touch ads to ads and pull each other back and forth. Please do not fart, they're both thinking. Actually, only Clare is probably thinking that. I doubt that Mikey cares. His favorite position is downward Clare and hopefully, he will be "able to experience it with he done day without all the cameras."  They dive into a pool and Mikey says that he wants to get to know her bette rand would like to kiss her. She says, in not so many ways, I am not interested in you at all. He tells the camera later "I like that we're on the same page together." Let's see what happens when I Google tantric yoga...
The people are starting to couple up and Tenley, who has a made up name and refers to herself in the third person, pouts, wondering who will give her a rose? Except you have to imagine her saying that in a bitty baby voice, as in "Who will give me a wose?" Mikey has his super short hair in a teeny tiny ponytail, not at all resembling a samurai.
Who raised these two sisters? They seem like brats. They both cry immediately and decide they need to start doing shots. Sounds like a good idea. The dark haired one says, "I'm going to hafta claim my stake." She interrupts Tenley's walk with Ashton and she tells him that she's awkward around hot guys. He does not know what to say to her.  The two sister are a little bit funny together as the one tries to comfort the other by saying, "You're way better than any of these girls running around with fake boobies. It's like saline central around here."
Tenley is throwing herself at J.J. and giving him permission to kiss her and rub her butt just below where the microphone pack is placed. The twins are now all dressed up with dramatic red lipstick. Ashley now suddenly has long dark hair and she looks like a Hawaiian pin-up princess. She and Jarod/Ashley tell each others how amazing they think the other person is and then he goes to talk to Clare. This, of course, make Ashley cry, but she does that crying thing that my friend Donna pointed out, where they don't let the tears actually fall down their faces, they grab them up with the tips of their fingers as if they are precious jewels. I think this is because they don't' want their foundation to come off in cakey rivers.
This show is more like a cross between The Bachelor meets Big Brother, because there is strategy involved.
Rose ceremony. Guy picks girl.
Tanner chooses Jade. She accepts.
Kirk chooses Carly. She accepts with gold shit in her hair.
Sweaty guy picks Ashley S.
Black guy picks blond girl.
Mikey picks Clare. She will accept this rose, even though she doesn't like him and he doesn't know it.
Jarod is the one who will make of break the lives of these other women. He picks Ashley I. That means that she and her sister ret to stay and only J.J. is left.
Jo.J. chooses... He seems like a total prick, by the way. It's between Jillian and Tinley. He picks...Tenley. This kiss paid off. Jillian is shocked because she thought she had him eating out of her own hand, as she mimed a couple of times.
Oh, no, bad news. This is on both Sundays and Mondays. I won't be able to watch it both nights ever.

Live Frat Party on TV

I will not be watching the whole show because I have another TV date for PBS' Poldark, a show where, to date, no one has worn a thong.

Thus far, we've met a meathead, three sweet girls, and the woman with the Bambi eyelashes who brought her sister. Not sure if she's a twin or what, but she is already having throwing her wet body against a guy in the ocean as he fortuitously grabs her boobs so she won't fall over. Ashley wears a  white v-neck T-shirt with no bra. They have reminded us the Ashley is a virgin but her sister is so NOT (their emphasis, not mine). Kurt the ginger shows up and Carly likes him. I like Carly but she has dyed her hair a little too blond. One black guy so far and Ashton Kushner is back with the same half-hearted facial hair. Jillian bounces in wearing a super cute neon yellow bikini with her butt cheeks hanging out (cue black bar). Jade, remember, is the hometown girl who posed for Playboy and was promptly dumped when she told Chris and then forced him to watch her video.  J.J. has just arrived in pink pants and been cast as the villain. Any adult who goes by just their initials should rightfully be played seen as the bad guy. The other Ashley enters, ready to take on the role of the kooky girl. She immediately goes to look at the parakeets, right after saying she wasn't correctly portrayed as a loony on the last show. There will also be a wedding between the two previous Paradise contestants.

Chris tells them to follow him into a tent and to sit on the wooden settees. He announces that one of the women will be going home. As for the sisters, Chris says that if you extend a rose to one, they will both be staying. Why? The other girls are immediately jealous.

Chris Harrison wants to show them something interesting. He wears a blue leisure suite--matching pants and jacket, probably no socks, but we never do get to see his ankles. He's going to take them to the wedding of those other beautiful people who met and bonded within fifteen minutes in the last season. Boring. I forgot how boring this particular show is. How much money did they pay Marcus and Lacey to pretend to be married by Chris Harrison? Fifty thousand? Only two of their family members are allowed to attend. Chris reminds them that they failed at love on their first reality shows, but that love was with them and they were able to find each other on the second reality show. Wow. They share some canned and unsurprising vows and are pronounced Harrison, which means that all of the vows are extra meaningless. Smiles all around from the cast. The one girl with a tragic story that I don't remember catches the bouquet. Almost no teeth were knocked out in the grabbing of the bouquet.

Lots of drinking will ensue, tears will be shed, and bikinis will be worn. I'll try to catch up next week (it moves the Monday nights after this one special episode).

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Books I've Read in the Last Two Weeks and Barely Recall Now

My ability to hold on to a plot line beyond a month is severely limited, which is good and bad. The bad part is that I think I may have a brain tumor. The good part is that I can read books more than once, always with a sense of de ja vu, like I may have read it before. Some of the time, that's because I'm not reading with great attention, but with one eye on the dog and the other eye closing in tiredness (I read mostly at bedtime). But here's an update on what I've read recently, as far as I can remember it. All of these books came from the wonderful, amazing, fantabulous Princeton Public Library. If that library were a man (or a woman), I would gladly make out with it.

1.  Finders Keepers by Stephen King. This book includes characters from his last volume, Mr. Mercedes, which I also read but can't remember very well. According to Wikipedia, it's the second in a trilogy devoted to this town, these characters. Finders Keepers runs over a slightly familiar trope for King, a fan obsessed with a writer (think Lisley's Story and Misery).  But it was... boring. By King standards, because one of his greatest strengths is that he creates page-turning tensions. You must keep reading until the end. That was true of this book, but the plot was boring. A bad guy kills an author and steals his money and all of his unpublished work and then buries it in his own back yard, after killing the other two people who helped him pull off the heist. He then goes to prison for a few decades for a different crime, and the kid whose family buys his house uncovers the treasure a few years later.  The novel centers around the killer being released and tracking down the little boy. Not to ruin it for you, but there is a scene at the end where the bad guy burns to death trying to rescue the books, not unlike what happens to Annie Wilkes in Misery. I didn't care much for the kid or his plight and the characters seemed flat. I read it cover to cover though.

2. By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham. If you haven't read The Hours, you must. This book did not compare to that one, but the writing was lovely, so many beautiful sentences. He reminds me of McEwan--they both write about moments in life where the character is trying to decide what it all means, why are we here, what does life mean, but not in a pontificating or obvious way. The story was about an art curator who thinks he might be falling in love with his wife's fucked up younger brother.

3. Long And Faraway Gone, by Lou Berney. This is a crime novel about two characters trying to solve mysteries from the past. One is a detective hired to figure out why this woman is being harassed at her place of business (he's also a survivor of a terrible crime 20 years earlier); the other a woman whose sister disappeared at the county fair twenty years ago. I liked it, but it felt like the writer wasn't sure how to resolve the mysteries. Both were solved when other characters just messed up to what had happened. With no consequence. Also, the two crimes did not link up in any way and the characters only fleetingly intersected. Which story was more interesting? The guy who couldn't figure out why he survived this mass shooting in a movie theater after-hours. No answer was forthcoming. That question was not answered.

4. The Dangerous Husband by Jane Shapiro. I picked this one up mostly because I thought, Oh, finally, a book with the word "husband" in the title instead of "wife." This quick read was a dark comedy about the difficulty of staying married, particularly when the husband is chronically, hyperbolically clumsy and prone to knocking over bookshelves and people at any given moment. Halfway though, the wife realizes she can't leave him, and so he must die. The writing was entertaining, strange, and somewhat tiring with its quirkiness, but I guess that means one should just not try to read it all in one sitting.

I'm also now reading Charles Baxter's interrelated collection of short stories with titles like "Bravery," "Loyalty," and "Chastity." I'll let you know how that goes. Library trip is imminent for later on today.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The SHOCKING Season Finale

What could that mean? Will someone be killed? Will Kaitlyn's twin show up to say she's the one who slept with Nick? Will Shawn confess that he's secretly married to...Nick's sister? Or will they drag this out for two hours and she'll pick Nick like she's supposed to so they can break up after two covers of US Weekly and go their separate ways to be on Dancing with the Stars?

Shawn, please stop doing you're hair in that 1950s do-wop soda jerk style.

Nick, you are not Nick Carraway. No more bow ties for you.

Kaitlyn, stop petting your mom's hair. Kaitlyn's mom is very made up and young looking. She has bangs and may have just had her braces removed. My far-flung reporter, Emily Morgan Brown, aptly describes her as "old-fashioned hoochie mama." That about covers it.

Nick shows up first, with his hair distinctly sandier than I remember it. He also has decided to grow a beard He is wearing a wooden beaded bracelet that look like a girl's necklace that he wound around his wrist four times. Hoochie Mama grills him, saying that she remembers him as arrogant and possessive and wondering if he can explain what it is that Kaitlyn likes about him. She asks if they will still like each other after the sexual attraction wears off. I think he's actually falling in love with mom, who keeps touching her neck. He fakes tears.  He is a bit of a mumbler. I can understand like every third word he says, "Your daughter argghh...she with the (murmur stumble slur) can't get enough of her." They make out by the mini van while saying goodbye. Numerous audible kisses.

Dan says he wants me to sign him up for the next season of the bachelor. Here's his pitch,"Danny Fernandez, yoga instructor, 47, lives in New Jersey with 12 year old son, frequently forgets to cut his eyebrows, but is a careful driver and hopes to find someone who will help him clean his ears for the rest of his life. His mom just bought him a shirt today."

Here's his head shot.

Shawn is next. He says that he's hoping "To get off to the right foot." He brings thank you gifts and Kaitlyn's sister likes him. His part is totally half-way down the side of his head and cut with a razor blade. They seem to like him better, even though he's more of a dude and uses the word "dude" often. Mom is a cry baby. She loves tons of cliches strung together.  Sister Haley also loves Shawn. This is the part where they skew it so we think that she's going to pick Shawn, but she won't. Shawn asks for both of their blessings. Mom goes, "We love our daughter, but she is an idiot. As long as you know that from the start." Dad says, "There's going to be lots of ups and downs. She's probably bipolar like her mother." (Those are Dan quotes).

Is this Kaitlyn's mom or Jackie Collins? You decide.

Is this Kaitlyn's mom or Sharon Osborne? Unclear.

Nick has the first one-on-one final date with Kait in Marina del Ray on a sail boat and he leaps from the motor boat onto the sailboat. Why oh why can't something happen like where he falls and hits his teeth and knocks them out? Who is sailing this boat? Where is his hand right now? You got it, all the way up her denim shorts.  They have another date and Nick wears a shirt that it looks like something his mom bought him, possibly from Macy's. Who is he trying to look like with this super un-hip shirt and beard? That guy from Little House?

Dan thinks that instead of going on adventures like sky-diving and cave spelunking, they should try to get their social security cards together in Trenton, like we had to do. Now, that's a character-revealing adventure.

He got her a gift and it's in his bedroom. But he says it like this:"Iboughtyouagiftandit'sinmypants." It's a handwritten poem in a frame with a picture of the two of them "There is magic in your eyes and when I see you there is love in your heart and when I touch you I feel love worth letting go." A terrible, terrible poem with spelling errors that he wrote on the back of the inside of a box of Froot Loops and stuck in a frame from Things Best Forgotten.

Now it's Shawn's turn. He shows up in a tight white long underwear shirt, also looking like a character from Little House. Maybe even the same actor. Kaitlyn, stop petting his knee.

He says he has a pit in his stomach because he's not sure if he should propose to her since she obviously slept with someone else.  For the second date, he dresses up by wearing a football shirt from the Gap. He says, "I want to  be able to say, 'This is my girl, this is my wife.'" He also has a gift for her, it's a jar of candy. Or a jar of fruit or wait, it's a jar of their dates. It's a memory jar, like a memory book, only, like, in a jar, dude. Where did he get the notes that he wrote to her? What's in the jar is their love story. What will happen if she chooses him is that she will end up in a jar, thrown in a river.

The two men pick out rings. Nick has dedicated himself to the white v-neck T under an open button down shirt look. Shawn is into whatever fits the tightest.

I missed a bunch of stuff because my computer lost power. But yes, they have fucked with us the whole season, so we would think it would be Nick, and it's not Nick, because she likes Big Boy better. She likes the guy who can't pronounce the word "been." As in, "I've been on a journey," comes out like, "I bin on this journey, dude."

Nick does not want to hear it. This is like being dumped at prom. That's how not-high the stakes are.

EW! I don't like Shawn though. It's not because Shawn isn't a good guy, it's because he seems like a beefcake. I mean, I get that these are personas, but I don't see anything, not one thing, that's interesting about him. Can the producers not find a way to make the people on the show seem more individual or human?

Stunned silence in the studio, like someone just announced that the president was shot. Except for the ll year old girls with side-ponytails in the audience, no one is really that invested in this show, because we all know it's staged.

Shawn shows up, wearing a skinny tie from 1989 and a skin tight tuxedo. Probably he's wearing a sleeveless shirt under the jacket. The moment he saw her, he knew his life was never going to be the same. When he introduced himself, he felt like he's never felt before, these past couple of months and through the highs and the lows and the ups and downs, he would not change any of it, something about more than he can imagine, the incredible-est woman he has ever met and he wants to kiss those lips and have a pit in his stomach every single day and he falls more and more in love with her every time he sees her, she is the love of his life, and all he wants to do is make her the happiest girl in his life. She blathers the same things back. She says that he makes her laugh (unintentionally). She too enjoys the ups and downs. And the truth is...She will stop sleeping around now. And she loves him with all of her heart. Kiss. Music swells. Dan wants to know if this is staged in Lego Land. Like, what are all those mini pillars? It reminds me of that scene from This is Spinal Tap, where the producers were imagining huge replications of Stonehenge, but the set designer came back with mini-versions "in danger of being crushed by a dwarf."

That's all she wrote people. I cannot stay for the after-birth.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Aging Sherlock

We went to see Mr. Holmes at the Princeton Garden Theater last night and it was a lot about regrets and forgetting and getting older and trying to puzzle out a case. Holmes is in his nineties, 93, and he's losing the power of his brain, his greatest asset, though still sharp in some ways (he has the power to deduce where the housekeeper has been by the state of her hair, nails, and dress), he can't recall the details of the case that caused him to quit detective work entirely. The case went so badly, he retired to the country, where he keeps aviaries, and those bumblebees play a big part in the story, these industrious creatures who are mysteriously dying. Then there is his visit to Japan to get a special herb to help his memory from a Japanese man, and there is a mystery there too, because it turns out the man invited him there because he believes Holmes knew his father (and encouraged him to abandon the family--which wasn't true).

So, there are four mysteries--the mystery of why the bees are dying, the mystery of Holmes' last case, which he keeps piecing together through the little boy of the house, the mystery of the Japanese man, and I guess that's it and so it's three mysteries. Oh, well, unless you county the mystery of why Laura Linney was cast as the housekeeper. I mean, I love Laura Linney, but she doesn't scream, "English housekeeper/mother" to me. Well, there is also the mystery of what happened to the little boy's father, and that gets solved as well--in trying to better himself, the father joined the RAF during WW II and was shot down on his first mission. His friends who worked at the garage all signed up for mechanics duty and all made it home. There's a lesson imbedded in his death, which is to not try to rise above your station, lest you be shot down by the enemy.

I love Ian McKellen, though I confuse him often with the author, Ian McEwan. He was the right amount of doddering and sharp. Dan and his mom thought the beginning was slow, but it's so beautiful, all of this rolling green countryside and raggedy sheep and old automobiles, that I didn't notice the slow pace. Luke was interested because he has read a lot of books about the young Sherlock Holmes. Plus, he's inexplicably patient about unfolding plots--I felt the same nervousness when we watched The Life of Pi together--that whole story starts off with 30 minutes of domesticity before it roars into action--but he stayed interested in that as well. In any case, I recommend Mr. Holmes, as long as you go into it knowing it's more about the challenges of aging then it is about who killed so and so,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Homes I Have Known and Loved

In trying to work on "Real Estate," I'm working on figuring out what home means for this particular character One suggestion I had from Molly Gaudry is to free-write about homes. Here's what I came up with.
This is a picture of my grandma in front of one of her homes.
Homes I have known and loved and remember: grandma's house with the cement steps where you could swing off the end and the dark wood staircase going up and the kitchen where the activity was and outside was a wide driveway with chained up dogs and John Deer tractors and grease spots in the gravel, There were boys everywhere, as my mom had seven brothers.

Omaha and an attic bedroom and a babysitter who had a scary basement. The apartment in Illinois. The first time where I slept on a cot outside of the bedroom by myself, separated from my mom. The house in Schaumburg with the pink and white bedroom and scratchy carpet and the huge flowered wallpaper in the kitchen and the back patio where Don grew tomatoes. That house had a basement with an office in it where the skeleton lived and Don also put up an indoor swing for me by the washer and dryer. That's when he was still trying to pretend to like me.

Florida house, one story, no basement, doors that slide shut instead of closing, a sun porch that got hot hot hot in the summer and the canal where cats could fall in. A living room floor that you could walk around in socks in and furniture that was just for company and a glass topped dining room table. I moved carefully around that house, trying not to make any noise or be noticed.

And then the houses of my adulthood.

A wall in Chicago we painted bright purple and green for a one year stay, that was a garden apartment with bars on the window, people always hurrying by and a shared bathroom, my bed on the floor, just a futon mattress and Tara and I both smoked, a small pantry to the side and the garbage out back behind the stairs.

Nadine's place on the street that had two giraffe sculptures on the ends of it. I had my own bathroom, but she had the one that was in her bedroom and this giant table in the center of the entryway and I think I had a real bed then. One night, we woke up because we heard the guy below beating up his wife. We called the cops and pressed our ears to the wooden floor. The woman says, "Can you think of a reason a man should hit a woman?" And the cop goes, "It depends." Nadine's dad was schizophrenic, and he called her once saying, "oh, I just saw your head in the refrigerator and thought I'd give you a call."  She had a sister too and I think there was a kitchen counter with two stools, but I'm not sure. I spent most of my time hiding in the bedroom, because she always had her boyfriend over and they would sit in the living room, smoking pot and laughing when he farted. When the lease was up nine months later, Nadine said she wanted to live alone. I felt like I'd been tricked.

My first place by myself on Hazel Street in a huge building. I loved it. It had no air conditioning and this was the summer of the heat wave in Chicago, but I had everything all my own and a huge slanted closet in the living room big enough to store a bike I never rode and books shelves made of ladders for the books I'd collected. I used to lay on the floor, I think I had a thin rug, and record my thoughts about boys into a tape recorder and then play it back and listen and smoke cigarettes and take Tylenol PM because I couldn't afford alcohol.

I remember many of these details mostly because I have photos of them, I don't know if I would recall otherwise, but the house on Hazel had a small gas stove and big sink and the building manager's name was Jack. He had white hair and a beard and an anchor tattoo and always wore a white T-shirt. I would walk every morning to the Sheridan el stop past a yard with unfriendly dogs. I was not happy in Chicago, I was always trying to find a boyfriend and managing only to find one and two night stands or guys I made out with in deserted stairwells at work.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Life with a Dog

We've had a dog for months and months now, the first dog I've ever owned, though I've always loved them, been a chronic dog-petter of strange dogs. At Penn, I inspired the Take Your Dog to Work idea that is still in effect today. I did that because we had a lot of dog owners and it was the only way I could get more than five minutes with the creatures. I've actually never met a dog I didn't like. I've liked some more than others, but I've liked almost all of them more than toddlers.

Before we got the Morkie, I'd heard the comparison between puppies and babies; how puppies were like babies, requiring a lot of care in the beginning. This was true-ish--puppies and dogs in general are way more work than cats. With cats, you just show them the litter box one time, and they are potty-trained for life. Your furniture will get scratched to hell, and you have to make sure they don't run out of the door (as they will not return on their own), and you have to pick up hairballs, but that's about it in terms of extra care.

It took us about two months to train Chaplin to go out outside, partially because we got him in the middle of winter and also because we didn't crate train him at first (due to my laziness, I didn't want to get up a 2 AM to take him outside when he cried). We took him to two and a half puppy courses (missing the last three sessions of the second class), and we walk him four or five times a day, down from like 6 or 7 when he was small. But I don't really think puppies are nearly as hard as babies. Just harder than other pets, except for maybe horses. And they can't take care of themselves.  And they want to play all of the time, He's calming down but he has pretty much three modes: chewing on something, wanting to fetch, and dead asleep. Not a whole lot of  moments of hanging out in contemplation.

Those curly-cue bones are a god send because they last for a hour or more, same with that little orange thing with the bone in the middle. He doesn't care about the Kong.  He sneezes more than a cat would, and he does this thing called a reverse sneeze which sounds like an old men trying to hock up phlegm. Many times, it's happened that I just let him chew on a pair of shoes. The value of shoes outweighs the value of my own time not having to throw that damn hedgehog again. You have to bathe dogs, otherwise, they smell. You have to apologize for dogs, for jumping on stranger's white pants. They will follow you everywhere, watch everything you do. They will hang out on the rug while you take a shower (the steam is also good for the phlegm problem mentioned above). You have to physically pick up their poop three to four times a day and carry it around until you find a garbage can, You have to stop them from running out into the street to chase a sparrow, a taunting squirrel, a white piece of paper.  Every time we go to the pet shop, I walk out $50 poorer. Every time, like even if I think I'm going in to get only dog treats.

But they are so totally present, and engaged, and interested in what you're doing. They lose their minds when you walk through the door. They are always glad to see you, even if you've only been gone for five minutes. If you stick your foot into their faces in the middle of the night, they will lick your toe. You can take them places and not just the dog park. They go with you on holiday visits, they go with you to the hardware store, the ice cream shop, other people's houses. They smudge their noses on the windows and they start to cock their heads to one side when you say the words "dog park."

For Luke, it's been good because he used to be afraid of dogs, any dogs, all dogs, even puppies. But Chaplin was so small when we got him, that he was able to deal with it, though it took him a while to see that the puppy's teeth weren't that sharp, that he could keep him from biting if he wanted. It took him another couple of months before he would pick him--I think he was afraid of dropping him, or unsure how to hold him.

Yesterday, he had a friend over who has two dogs, and the kid goes, "I just love dogs, don't you?"

And Luke said, "I love dogs too."

Score one more for dogs.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

(Mis) Remembering To Kill a Mockingbird

Lots of talk these days about Harper Lee's sequel to her much-praised To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven't yet read Go Tell it on the Mountain (isn't that what it's called?) but we were talking today about TKAM, and I had to confess that I don't remember it that well. To admit this is akin to saying you're not sure if Macbeth is a tragedy or that one about the garden gnomes in midsummer.  I know I've read TKAM more than once, but the first time was probably in Mrs. Bytheway's 10th grade AP English class and the second time might have been for about ten minutes at the library.

But if you were to ask me what's amazing about it, I would have to make something up, like to say that it's one of the first novels to take on race relations, but I would only be able to tell you that because I heard them talking about it on NPR on the ride home from work today.

Here's what I remember about the book. It has a girl in it, and I think her name is Butterscotch. It's definitely an odd name, something that you might name a horse rather than a girl. I'm pretty sure the novel is set in the South, and there may or may not be an older narrator looking back, perhaps an old man with a white beard. As I write this, I'm picturing the narrator of Uncle Jesse from The Dukes of Hazzard.  I believe that Butterscotch makes friends with a big black man named Boo Radley or Beau Ridley, one of the two. I hesitate to write that he was mentally-challenged, because it seems like every story about a young white girl and older black man has to automatically make the black man retarded on some level so that it can remain benign and the girl can teach him his sums by writing them with a stick in the dirt. I feel like there was an important scene where someone was pushing another person on a tree swing. The novel takes place in the Depression era and Butterscotch definitely had short bangs and a bobbed haircut and wore a dingy dress with the hem hanging down. She ran barefoot and was a tomboy.  A woman gets raped and the town blames Boo Radley, because he was seen looking at her through a window while she brushed her hair. I also might be confusing this story line with a Stephen King novel. He goes on trial for rape and possibly murder, and is defended by Atticus Finch. I recall his name clearly because it's often a clue in the Sunday crossword puzzle. Much of the book takes place in the courtroom and the lawyer looks a lot like Gary Cooper. In the end, the black man is found not guilty, but remnants of fear and prejudice remain, so he has to get on a train and leave town, with Butterscotch running after him and yelling. "Don't go, Boo!" in a Southern accent.

On the cover of the book is a tree, meant to symbolize the tree where Boo pushed Butterscotch when times were better. As for the title...Perhaps someone throws a stone at a singing mockingbird early on and wounds it (or, more likely, kills it), and this symbolizes the main theme of the novel that you shouldn't accuse others for doing something they wasn't harmful at all, such as looking at a woman through a window in town.  So, maybe he doesn't get on a train, maybe he is hung in the end, but I feel like that would've been too unjust and may not then have been made into a movie.  

Am I close?  All of this is to say that before I read the sequel, I'll go back to the first book. I also recall that it's a fairly slim volume,
so I should be able to tackle it in about an hour