Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Kill A Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Like everyone else, I read this book in high school ( a long time ago ). Over the past year, it has come up over and over again in our book club discussions. On a whim this week I picked it up at Barnes and Noble, thinking it was a good time to read it again. Oh, it is soooo good the second time around!

Having lived in the South now for 17 years, I have a much better appreciation of the feelings at the time the novel is set. I have seen the remnants of this mindset over and over again since moving to Georgia. It is not so blatant as with the trial of Tom Robinson or the outright social stigma placed on Atticus, but the phrases used and the perceptions are still the same, some 74 years later.

Lee is a master story teller, pulling the reader in with believable characters. Scout, Jim and Dill are typical children, going on great adventures in the summer, attending school because they have to, paying the price for their mischief, and creating far-fetched scenarios about the strange man that lives on the corner. The story told through the eyes of Scout is pure and childlike, but with a wisdom a bit beyond her years. I credit this to the unorthodox upbringing she receives at the hand of her widower father, Atticus. Atticus, a lawyer, has always told his children the adult truth about the world, never providing child like answers to adult questions. When he is selected to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman, he is upfront with the children that this case will effect their lives, but even he can’t see just how much. The most beautiful character for me is Arthur “Boo” Radley, the recluse that lives in the house on the corner. In his seclusion, he seeks out the attention of the Finch children by leaving them small gifts, even as the children try to find ways to lure him out of his house, so they can see the strange man. Boo “appears” throughout the novel when the children need him and is instrumental in saving their lives at one point.

If you haven’t read this book or if you read it in school, I suggest you pick it up again and savor the story as an adult. I am sure we all have our own mockingbirds in our life.

Rating - A


  1. OK. I have to admit it, I've never read this book. Someday, I'll have to pick it up. You've convinced me. :)

  2. Der -- You HAVE to read it!! I will loan you my copy. It is just soooooo good.