Friday, May 17, 2013
Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Publisher: Arrow Books
Year of Release: 1960
Number of Pages: 309 (this edition)
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this enchanting classic - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humor the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice.
But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...
I'm just going to state the obvious here by saying that this is an amazing book. I'll admit, I was quite hesitant to read this one, though I'd heard incredible things about it, I wasn't sure it was for me. I'm so glad I did read it though because honestly, it's just one of those books that everyone has to read at least once. At the beginning of the book, I found the language used a little difficult to understand and it took me a while to grasp certain things, but once you get used to the tone and style of the book, it's really quite amazing.
I loved everything about this book. This true American classic reaches out and grips readers tight with it's gentle humor, unquestionable love and one man's unbelievable conquest for justice within a town buried in prejudice, discrimination and racism, and holds them tight right until the end. A truly un-put-down-able novel.
Not only does Lee go into extraordinary detail of the prejudice of the thirties through a child's eyes, she also manages to incorporate a mysterious and somewhat bizarre character into the story as well, one that will eventually become a crucial part of the plot (I'm sure you know who I'm referring to).
Arthur 'Boo' Radley easily became one of my favourite characters, though he is barely present in the story in person. His character and history was one of the main things that grabbed my attention- I just wanted to know more about him.
Harper Lee's incredible ability to use expression through writing made me pause more than once in my reading so that I could read certain passages aloud to myself, just for the pleasure of hearing the words.
Readers are also presented with the idea of moral courage and sensibility through the character of Atticus Finch, the lawyer appointed to defend Tom Robinson - the black man falsely charged with the rape of a white girl. His fearlessness and bravery in representing this man though he knows most of the town will probably turn against him and his family is astounding, and through everything he keeps a clear head knowing that he must do what is right.
I couldn't agree more with American author Truman Capote, who said, "Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life and the warmest, most authentic humour. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable."