Thursday, May 15, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Lee, Harper (1960). To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 407 pages.

Scout and Jem are two curious kids being raised by their widowed father in Maycomb County Alabama. Some of their activities include visiting their neighbors, playing with their friend Dill in the summer, and trying to figure out a way to lure Boo Radley, a reclusive and feared neighbor, out of his home. Life intensifies for Scout and Jem when their father defends an innocent black man in a rape trial. Suddenly the whole town is talking and Scout quickly learns who her friends really are.

It's so refreshing to read a book this good. First, it is beautifully written but a the same time accessible. Told from the eyes of a child, the sentences are well formed but not difficult. Because, Scout is trying to understand the adults around her, she meditates at length on many of the symbols. Second, Scout and Jem are trying to learn who they are and what they stand for which at times makes them a bit rebellious, but they aren't subverting their father. For someone who reads a ton of young adult literature this is new and different. Third, (and this is just my opinion), it's a candid yet respectful portrayal of Southern life during the depression. We can thank Atticus for that. With his even-temper and good natured respect for all even Ewell, the villain, could not be perceived as a demon.

I can't believe it took me almost 26 years to read this book. I think everyone should read it. It's that good and I normally don't recommend books across the board. But this is one of the exceptions.


Jen said...

Have your eally not read it until now? At least it is on your list. This is one I need to buy and add to my bookshelf at some point.

Lizardbreath McGee said...

I didn't read this until I was in college. And it's on my top ten list, so I can definitely agree with your assessment here.

Also, I'm so so glad that you're keeping up on your reading journal. I kinda need to do that myself... :)