To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

Rating: [rate 5]

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeIn a Southern novel of unusual narrative charm eight-year-old Jean Louise, nicknamed Scout, tells about growing up as the daughter of a widowed lawyer, Atticus Finch, in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the 1930’s. She and her older brother Jem happily occupy themselves with resisting “progressive education,” bedeviling the neighbors, and stalking the local bogeyman–until their father’s courageous defense of a black man falsely accused of rape introduces them to the problems of race prejudice and brings adult injustice and violence into their childhood world. Despite a melodramatic climax and traces of sermonizing, the characters and locale are depicted with insight and a rare blend of wit and compassion. (Library Journal Review)

To Kill a Mockingbird is a story about innocence and prejudice that is told in the eyes of a little girl. The story starts with Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed Scout, and her adventures with her older brother Jem and their mutual friend Dill who visits Maycomb in the summer. These adventures include reenacting scenes from Dracula as told by Dill, and “stalking” Arthur (Boo) Radley, the town’s bogeyman. School comes and Scout doesn’t like it, but agrees to a compromise with her loving father Atticus.

The story is kind of slow at first as Ms. Lee introduces all her characters and give them personalities. Scout is shown as a quick-tempered tomboy while Jem is an imaginative boy who takes care of his sister. Atticus is shown as the caring and strong father figure (for some reason, when I imagine Atticus, I keep on seeing Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove) and an honest lawyer.

Things heat up for their little family when Atticus was appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a Negro accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white woman. Racism was a big issue in the novel, and as Atticus defends Tom, Jem and Scout get abused by the other children and people from Maycomb. Atticus, however, ignores what other people say, consoles his children and defends Tom the best way he can. In the end, Scout learns the lesson what her father wanted her to learn in the first part of the novel: sympathy for other people and not to lose faith in human goodness.

I’m not much of a fan of classics, so I had a hard time starting to read this book (I had to go back and re-read the first few pages to get the hang of the language). I read this a lot slower too, which is okay because I don’t think this novel is supposed to be read quickly. :p After getting into the middle of the novel, I started to love Scout Finch, with her innocent look at life and her relationship with her older brother, which reminded me of my brother and I. I also love how Atticus takes care of them; at first he looked like a someone to be afraid of, he turned into an endearing character who loves his children more than anything in the world.

I wasn’t disappointed with this classic, and I can definitely say that this is going to be in my favorites list. Great great book. :D

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” – Atticus Finch