Monday, September 19, 2011
Book Review of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Author Name: Harper Lee
Publisher: Popular Library
Type of book: Young adult to adult, 1930s, racism, coming of age, South
Year it was published: 1960
(from goodreads.com) 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.
The main characters, along with secondary ones are interesting ones, especially their growth into what might be the 1960s movements to fight against racism. Atticus himself is an interesting character because he doesn't withhold information neither from Jem and Scout. One would think him a perfect character, but its clear in the book that he does make mistakes concerning the Ewells' personality.
I think the main theme of the novel is to protect the mockingbirds in life, that is people who resemble mockingbirds such as Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. Another lesson is the understanding how hierarchy is beyond color, and how it's divided into narrower and narrower categories.
This was completely told from the first person point of view of Scout, also known as Jeanne Louise Finch. It was also divided into two parts; one dealing with them growing up, another is the trial and the aftermath. There are parts that I found boring, in particularly the second part dealing with pre-trial things. But once the trial starts, the reader is glued to the seat, watching the drama unfold.
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville on April 28, 1926, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served on the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote. (from goodreads.com)
Perhaps like others, I've encountered this book as a student in high school. (I forgot what age,) but ironically I kind of liked, although I wasn't sure why. Re-reading it, I was able to appreciate it fully. I enjoyed reading about the South of the 1930s, and for some odd reason, it seems to have little changed in the 1960s. (I actually thought that the book took place in 1960s.) This book seems to question the hierarchy that humans create, and asks the question what makes some people better than others? I think that if I should have children, I will ask them to read this book so they can learn something new and beyond. One of the things I'm questioning now is why does my family seem to act as if Jewish traditions are worse than christians ones. Why are we called to worry about what my future brother-in-law's family will think of Jewish traditions? Why aren't they concerned about what we might think of their traditions? (Hope the question makes sense.) I also liked the struggle as Scout started to understand the restrictions placed on different people; that is, the hierarchy and society went beyond the color of skin, and instead within the broad categories are more divisions. Also, history was enjoyable as well.
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)