Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Genre: Southern Gothic, Domestic Fiction
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from blurb):
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
I’ve been meaning to read this one for a long time. It’s the favourite book of two of my favourite people, and my auntie gifted it to me a year or so ago. (My sister promptly scurried off with it and I had to go hunting for it in her room over the Easter break.)
I think it’s safe to say that this is up in my top ten favourite books of all time.
It’s been a while since I read a book that made me laugh, made me cry, and hit home on so many levels. Obviously plenty of people have already analysed this novel, and I probably can’t go into so much detail, but I can understand exactly why this is so many people’s favourite book.
I love the fact that it’s explored from a child’s perspective; Harper Lee’s humour is just perfect, and the innocence in Scout’s narrative is charming. The fact that she wears overalls (dungarees for me!) is such a sweet image and I love her entire personality. It’s a novel of children beginning to navigate the world of grown ups and it really makes you appreciate how warped some adult worldviews can be.
That being said, I think Atticus Finch is my new literary hero. Throughout the novel he tries his best to bring his children up to be kind and respectful of everyone, no matter their background.
But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.
This quote, more than anything in the book, took my breath away. This quote is what cemented Atticus as a hero. Throughout the entire court scene, he remains calm and collected; his entire ending speech is perfect.
The bit that made me weep, however?
Autumn again, and Boo’s children needed him.
My friends, the last time I cried at a single line from a novel was two whole years ago. I cry at a lot, to be fair, but it’s been a long, long time since I bawled my eyes out at a book and couldn’t stop.
It’s this bit where Scout finally puts herself into someone else’s shoes, where she finally starts to understand grown-ups, that got me. It’s the fact that though Boo is evidently so very different to her, that though she doesn’t quite understand why he’d choose to stay inside, she tries. And he cares about them.
This is definitely up there with my favourites – I just took a quiz that made me pick between this and The Great Gatsby, which was painful.
Anyone else love this book?
Lots of love,