To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
Review: I’m not sure what to say about this book that hasn’t been said 61,500 times before. Seriously, that’s how many reviews To Kill A Mockingbird has on Goodreads. This is going to be a short review because I literally have nothing to add to the conversation.
Even if you’ve never read To Kill A Mockingbird you probably know what it’s about. The story is set in 1930s Alabama and told from the point-of-view of eight-year-old Scout. Scout’s father is a defense attorney who causes a controversy after he defends a black man in a rape case. This book shows Scout’s struggle to make sense of an unjust world.
I read this book for the first time when I was thirteen. Thirteen-year-old me was an avid reader of classics, but I mostly stuck to the sci-fi/fantasy/horror classics. I couldn’t get into the realistic ones. This book helped me realize that realistic classics didn’t have to be about stuffy British people who attend a lot of dinner parties. Many of the characters in this book are children, and the author perfectly captures the humor, mysteries, and confusion of growing up in a small town. Even though thirteen-year-old me had never been to Alabama, I remember the vivid rural setting of the novel pulling me in. It was a setting that I could (and still can) relate to.
When I first read this book, I was young enough that it had an impact on how I saw the world. To Kill A Mockingbird is about looking past a person’s outward appearance and reputation. It’s about trying your hardest to be fair to others. It taught me that I have to stand up for what I believe—even if it’s hard or unpopular—but I still need to respect people who believe differently than me. It has always impressed me that a book could teach me so much without being preachy.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions . . . but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
I’m glad I got a chance to reread this book.