Okay fine, you got me. This isn’t exactly the most recent book o the shelves. In fact it is probably one of those that have gathered dust and will make you sneeze once you open them. That being said it is one of those books that you really can’t say have aged a single bit on the shelves. To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Maycomb Alabama in 1932 and shows the story of small town stereotypes and racism through the eyes of a young white girl aged 6 at the start of the knowledge. Raised by her single dad, Atticus Finch, house girl Calpurnia, brother Jem and his best friend Dill, these children constantly ask questions that the rest of the community have either never asked, or ceased to ask. In a community where people have grown up just letting things be because that is how they have always been the Jean Louise –scout- the girl, Jem and Dill are constantly asking why. That constantly annoys the community but interestingly their father loves it. In fact on the most part he encourages it.
The hero of this book on an obvious level is their father, Atticus who is constantly fighting for the right of the oppressed minority. Atticus Finch is a lawyer who is constantly driven on by his love – and respect- for his children. He is constantly quoted in the book as saying. “If I stop doing this, will I ever be able to face my kids again?” Sure he has his downfalls but even when he makes a mistake you can’t help but think that it was the lesser of two evils and most of the time it actually was.
Now if any of you have read A Time To Kill by John Grisham I should stay that this is probably where he got the idea. Think of this book as A Time To Kill on speed, crack, booze weed and other lethal addictive drugs. This book filled with emotion is the definition of a page turner, every single page makes you want to read the next, and the next t the next and henceforth until the book is done and you start again from the beginning just in case you missed anything.
Harper Lee’s pick of words is especially good. It is careless in the way only a child can muster. It is not like one of those books where a child’s thoughts sound like a fifty year olds thoughts. No, in fact some of the thoughts make you want to scream out “Grow UP!” and then it hits you that you are actually exploring the mind of a 8 or so year old girl. This of course leads me to the excerpt. Today’s is pretty interesting. The whole chapter that carried this particular excerpt took me places. Atticus was sitting outside the jail cell protecting his client when the town came to break in and kill him. Little did they know that Jem, Scout and Dill had followed Atticus to the jailhouse. Deep into the confrontation Scout starts talking about nothing really just to each man about their kids. I think I can name this excerpt, the power of a child’s voice:
“Entailments are bad.” I was advising him, when I slowly awoke to the fact that I was addressing the entire aggregation. The men were all looking at me, some had their mouths half-open. Atticus had stopped poking at Jem: they were standing together besides Dill. Their attention amounted to fascination. Atticus’s mouth, even, was half-open, an attitude he had once described as uncouth. Our eyes met, and he shut it.
Then of course you can’t even dare to speak of this book without telling the take of Bo Radley. When it comes to the topic of Bo Radley, the mystical neighbour from across the road, it gets you to feel how bad it is not to be ostracized because of your colour or race but to e cast to the side by your own people to be tossed to the side jus because people toss you to the side yet no one ever knows why.
To top it all off however To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those books that keep you reading. Those books that make you feel exactly what the character is feeling. They make you feel sorry for whoever scout is feeling sorry, to realize things when scout realizes them. It pulls you deep into her consciousness and lets you sit there for a while as you contemplate the happenings. I fact you become part of the conscience. I found myself saying “don’t do that Jem” or “Why can’t I go with you?” One negative thing about this book though. It is the worst book to read when you are meant to be studying for an exam.
About The Author
Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama. Her father was a former newspaper editor and proprietor, who had served as a state senator and practiced as a lawyer in Monroeville. Lee studied law at the University of Alabama from 1945 to 1949, and spent a year as an exchange student in Oxford University, Wellington Square. Six months before finishing her studies, she went to New York to pursue a literary career. During the 1950s, she worked as an airline reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and British Overseas Airways. In 1959 Lee accompanied Truman Capote to Holcombe, Kansas, as a research assistant for Capote’s classic ‘non-fiction’ novel In Cold Blood (1966).
To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee’s first novel and is available on Amazon