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.
Author: Harper Lee
Publisher: Random House (July 11th, 1960)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, a village that is still her home. She attended local schools and the University of Alabama. Before she started writing, she lived in New York and worked in the reservations department of an international airline. She has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, two honorary degrees and various other literary and library awards. Her chief interests apart from writing are nineteenth-century literature and eighteenth-century music, watching politicians and cats, traveling and being alone.
It was a pleasure to re-read this classic after so many years! I am not willing to read Go Set a Watchman soon because Jem was killed off. I loved him. He was going to grow up to be like Atticus. 😦
Anyway, the story was funny, warm, endearing, poignant. The characters were real and relatable. I think the author installed a piece of her personality and her life in the majority, if not all, her characters: Scout’s identity crisis. Boo Radley’s reclusiveness. Atticus was the author’s father. Truman Capote was Dill. Capote and Lee were actually best friends in reality.
Photo via The New York Times
The story was narrated by Jean-Louise Finch aka Scout growing up 1930s Maycomb, Alabama. She was a bit of a tomboy and it didn’t help that older brother Jem teased her sometimes about not acting like a girl (In real life, Lee was a tomboy). And she held her own in a fight too! As for Mr. Atticus Finch, he was a pretty good lawyer and overall, my favorite character (I just love lawyers!). As a father, he was patient, understanding and kind and spoke to his children as fellow adults. They called him “Atticus” and he was their world especially Scout’s. Another character I loved was Calpurnia, the maid who had a hand in the children’s upbringing. She was strict with Scout.
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
The Mockingbird was used to symbolize innocence in this story. I don’t feel like going into a literary explanation, but the book was about the exploration of moral nature of human beings and the importance of having an education; a moral one at that.
I give this book 5 steaming cups of coffee, not because it is a beloved classic of mine, but it was well written and the author handled the issue of racism well and I love how I was able to visualize every single character. Each one had their own problem to deal with and I guess it read like a classic tragedy. The story depicted the innocence of childhood, prejudice, and racism. Still awed by this story after so many years and I bet I’ll be awed again if/when I pick it up again five years later down the road.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
And this is why we should not judge others.
* “They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
Yes, and what does the Bible say about pride?
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”
Don’t Bring Home a White Boy by Karyn Langhorne