Review: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman was released yesterday, so what better time to write about To Kill a Mockingbird than now?

This is my first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and while I can see why people like this book, I think it might be a case of loving a book that you read so long ago that it has become something different in your head. It is still a really good book, but I don’t know if I would have appreciated it in my youth, and I doubt it would have become an all-time favourite as it has for so many people.

Synopsis: Scout and her brother, Jem, live with their widowed father, Atticus, in a tiny Southern town during the 1930s. Their summers are spent with their new friend Dill, who comes from out of town, and who is fascinated by their reclusive neighbour, Arthur “Boo” Radley. When Atticus, a respected defence lawyer, is assigned to defend a black man who has been accused of raping a white woman, the family is exposed to the evils of racism and stereotyping.

This book is often referenced in pop culture, so I had a fairly good idea of its content long before I ever read it. When I wrote about some of my favourite literary father’s for Father’s Day, many people were curious why I didn’t mention Atticus, and now I can see why. Atticus is one of those dads that cares enough to know what is going on with his kids without being a helicopter parent. His kids are polite and caring, and also brave and smart without being annoying about it.

My favourite character in the book actually isn’t one of the main characters. I really love Miss Maudie because she’s a no-nonsense lady who enjoys the life she has made for herself. She doesn’t let society dictate her path and sets a good example for the Finch children. Even though they children lost their mother when they were young, the kids still have a very positive female role model living just across the street. She treats people with kindness and caring, even when they are not the nicest people in town.

Overall, I really liked the writing style. Lee often hints at elements that are important to the story, but doesn’t overtly say them, making you think as you read. She also creates realistic characters that don’t simply fall into the good guy/bad guy box. These could be real people who are doing what they think is right, or who just don’t know any better. There is a depth of personality in each character that many recently published books fail to express.

LC rating: 4-stars (great book)

And now, on to Go Set a Watchman!


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