The actress and author explains why she gave her son the middle name Atticus.

By Isabella Biedenharn
February 23, 2016 at 05:16 PM EST
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

May-Louise Parker, former star of Weeds and author of the beautiful memoir, Dear Mr. You, has long loved To Kill A Mockingbird and its brilliant, Pulitzer-winning author Harper Lee. Upon learning of Lee’s death on Thursday, Feb. 18, Parker provided EW with a touching, personal reflection on what Lee’s masterpiece means to her — and to her family. Read it below:

“This month my twelve-year old son began reading To Kill A Mockingbird. “Do you know what my favorite part is, mom?” he asked. I said tell me, and he said, “It’s when Scout asks her daddy if he’s going to win the case and he says no. He says it’s the right thing to do, and plain doesn’t matter if he wins, he still has to try.” I saw his face grow solemn, fathoming that kind of bravery, and I realized that this book casts a spell. It makes the reader imagine living that courageously also; it acts as some kind of sacrament for leading a more honorable life, and precisely why I gave him the middle name he is now so proud of: Atticus.”

For more on Harper Lee’s legacy, pick up this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.