“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why its a sin to kill a mockingbird.” – Miss Maudie, To Kill a Mockingbird
Since it’s publication in 1960, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over 40 million copies, and has been described as the best novel ever written by a woman. It is an American classic that has and will continue to go down in history as one of the most influential books of all time. Its message of racism, human rights, guilt, and innocence is believed to have shaken society in the 1960’s, as demonstrated by one of the main characters, Atticus Finch.
The story is told through Scout’s eyes, a little girl living in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930’s. She and her brother Jem are being raised by their father Atticus and their African-American cook, Calpurnia, after their mother’s death. One summer, a new boy named Dill comes to town to spend the summer with his relatives. Together, Scout, Jem, and Dill try to uncover the secrets of the Radley’s – the mysterious neighbors whose middle-aged son, “Boo,” has not emerged from his house for years. This, however, is only part of the story. Atticus Finch, an esteemed lawyer, is faced with defending a black man for a crime he has been accused of. There is little evidence to convict him, yet everyone wants to believe he’s guilty simply because of the color of his skin. That is, except for Atticus. The Finch family receives harsh judgement from their friends and neighbors because of the racial tension that exists in Maycomb. Scout must learn to cope with the drama of the biased and unfair trial, along with her own feelings of guilt and innocence. Oh, and what happens with Boo Radley? You’ll have to find that out for yourself. 😉
THINGS I LIKED:
The Point of View: As I mentioned earlier, the book is narrated by Scout, the little girl in the story. Because of this, some of the more “adult themes” are simplified, and told exactly as Scout perceives them. She doesn’t sugar coat anything, but simply states things as they are. Her opinions are made very clear, and she often speaks her mind without hesitation. Throughout the story, she deals with her own feelings of guilt and innocence towards the issue of the trial and her personal actions and decisions. I also loved the childish, fun-loving element that was present, especially while on the look-out for Boo Radley! Scout and her friends bring lots of humor and happiness, which help to lighten the mood of a very deep story.
The Characters: Funny, wise, mysterious, evil, black, white, you name it. To Kill A Mockingbird has such a wide variety of original characters that you’re sure to fall in love with. Well, maybe not all of them, but most of them!
The Boo Radley Mystery: Boo Radley is an essential element of this story in many ways. His character adds suspense and intrigue, as well as an interesting storyline. Scout, Jem, and Dill have many thrilling adventures involving Boo, and the end of that story will leave you wanting more.
The Title: As you read the first few chapters of To Kill A Mockingbird, the title won’t make any sense. It’s not until farther in the book when it comes into play. When that happens, you might still be a little confused, but by the end of the book the loose ends meet, and you’ll be left saying “ohhhhhhhh! I get it!”
THINGS I DISLIKED:
The Writing Style: I’m not saying I strongly disliked this, I just didn’t care for it at times. Because of the time period it was written in, the writing is very different from modern books we read today. I found it hard to follow at certain points, and I was confused a few times in the book. However, I believe this is partly because #1: it’s not a style I read very often, and #2: the plot can be unclear at times. But other than those two minor issues, I thought this book was written extremely well as a whole.
I am giving To Kill a Mockingbird a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the plot, and the worldviews it discussed, but I did find it slightly confusing and dull at certain points. However, I’m glad to say there were not many of those parts, and it kept me very intrigued!
To Kill a Mockingbird is a very influential book with a strong message of standing up for what you believe in, and the on-going struggle between guilt and innocence. The characters and setting are superb, and the plot is amazing. Overall, I would definitely recommend To Kill a Mockingbird to someone looking for a great book. If you’re wanting to experience a powerful story, this timeless classic about the battle between guilt and innocence and is perfect for you. This novel opened my eyes to the shocking reality of the severe racism and inequality that existed in the southern United States during this time period.
Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? What did you think? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
– Meredith :D