I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Published by HarperCollins on 2002-03-05
Genres: Classics, Fiction, Legal, Literary
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Harper Lee's classic novel of a lawyer in the Deep South defending a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.
Aside from today being the World Cup Final, it is also the 50th Anniversary of the publishing of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If y’all haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird yet, you really need to. It’s a gorgeous Saturday and today I took the time to re-read this classic. I know it’s silly to re-read things when my TBR is a mile long, BUT some books merit this.
I first read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee the summer before 11th grade. It was assigned summer reading for A.P. English. I remember pretty much rushing through it and not really taking the time to appreciate the language. I was more interested in the plot and what would happen. I think on being about 6 years older, I have slightly matured and am a bit more able to appreciate this gorgeous book.
I was struck by the moral code of Atticus Finch. This is a man who does not waiver. He perfectly represents Maslow’s top level, being someone who is self-actualized. In reading about Atticus, I wished that I could be more like him. His character caused me to examine my own character. Friends, it sorely lacks in comparison. He’s just so fascinating. I mean, you could even read into To Kill A Mockingbird as a gender studies kind of book, as Atticus challenges societal notions of masculinity and what it means to be brave. Instead of being macho, he reads books in the evenings. He may be the deadest shot in the county, but he doesn’t own a gun, nor does he advertise his skills. He’s gentle. He’s got honor. What I loved was how he is exactly the same in his public life as he is in his private life. I don’t see how you can’t admire Atticus.
What is perhaps the most wonderful thing about To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the writing style. It’s smooth. It flows off the page. I actually laughed out loud while reading, which I would never have expected. Perhaps I was more taciturn in high school? Anyways, wow, this book is FUNNY. It’s also heartbreaking. Harper Lee has excellent wordsmith skills. Her prose is never flowery just to be flowery. Nor is it ever dumbed down for the audience.
I wonder, could To Kill A Mockingbird be considered YA? When I did the top 100 YA vote, To Kill A Mockingbird wound up in the top five. Now, personally, I would consider this YA. Perhaps it does not conform to today’s flavor of YA, but it has the elements. I guess for me, YA really resonates with coming of age stories, features a young protagonist, and has wonderful pacing. This book fit all of those requirements. I think it has perfectly stood the test of time, and will last at least another 50 years.
I can happily say, To Kill A Mockingbird actually improves upon a second reading. When I already know the plot, I find I can focus on other details, such as turn of phrasing and characterization. I must say To Kill A Mockingbird excels in characters from Bob Ewell and his dependency on the county to the Cunninghams and their not taking handouts from anyone to Mrs. Dubose who wants to die free of addiction, I just loved how well done these characters were.
Finally, dear friends, I would like to leave you with some quotes which struck me this time around:
“But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said.” – pg 89
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “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.” – pg 105
“I wanted you to see something about her — 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 you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.” – pg. 112