To Kill a Mockingbird
By: 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.
I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think going into this book. I’ve heard amazing things about this book but I also don’t read many classic novels, so I was scared I wasn’t going to like it as much as the entire world seems to. I’m happy I was worried for nothing. This book was enjoyable and had characters that seemed real, and they dealt with real-life problems. These problems weren’t sugar-coated, but were explained with careful ease by Lee. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was to read and how enjoyable it was to read, considering the lack of spell-casting wizards or lurking vampires in dark alleyways.
This book takes place in the 20th century (1960s?) in a Southern Alabama town called Maycomb. I love small towns and this one can definitely be considered small. Everybody knows everybody and there is one school that all the kids go to. I love how real this setting was. Harper Lee did a really good job with the set-up of this story.
For so long I didn’t even know the main character’s name, nor did I know if the main character was a girl or a boy. I thought that Scout was just a nickname and Scout sort of sounds like a guy name, but then everybody kept on making her the girl in the games they played, but she was mad about that so that’s also why I thought she was a boy. But then it started talking about Scout and Dill wanting to get married, and since this book is old I assumed it wasn’t some sort of gay marriage thing, and then I looked it up online and surely enough Scout is a girl and Scout is her real name.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I would like to talk about the development of our protagonist. Scout grew a lot during this book. I’m not exactly sure what time-frame we’re talking about here but let’s just say between 2-5 years just to be safe. Scout is a very young protagonist and she learns a lot about life and what the expectations are of her. But she doesn’t want to be a lady (Arya Stark much?) like everybody wants–and expects–her to be. I like that about her and not only is Scout independently strong, but she is smart and she knows when something bad has happened.
I also liked Atticus, Scout’s father. He was such a good character and he fought hard for his case. He has strong beliefs and a strong will that makes him such a wonderful character (just like his children, which I think is great).
When it comes to a book, plot is everything. If you don’t have a good plot, you might as well stop writing and start over again. The best plots are those that are nearly invisible for the reader to identify, but if they try and find a plot, they won’t have trouble finding it. There is a fine line between a good plot that is well-hidden and a bad plot that is just nonexistent. To Kill a Mockingbird had a wonderful plot and I could tell that Harper Lee put a lot of time and effort into making it flow nicely throughout the book. The only complaint I have is that the story got boring and dragged on in a few places and I just wanted it to get to the point already, but that is a normal situation in classic novels (Dracula is a good example of this, though it’s still a great novel).
What did you think of this review? Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts on it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!