To Kill a Mockingbird is a universal tale of children growing up in a climate of prejudice and hatred of those in some way unlike themselves. No culture or country today is immune from this. In some places it is subtle and in others it is murderous. Here in the Philippines darker skin is looked down on as a sign of lower class origins. To Kill a Mockingbird is also very much a work rooted in the the American South, in Alabama in the 1930s. In this part of the United States, as a legacy of slavery of course, the population is around fifty percent of African descent. To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee have received every form of award and acceptance a book can have in America. It was made into a very successful movie.
The book centers around a family, a father (a widower in his 50s) his young daughter (who narrates the story) and her brother. The father, an attorney, is defending as an unpaid volunteer a black man accused of raping a white woman. The woman is from what was in the time called a "White Trash" family. The only evidence against the man is the word of this woman. The man is crippled in his right arm. Common sense dictates that upon an examination of the facial bruises of the woman that it could not have been caused by a man whose right arm was crippled. A doctor and the sheriff testify to this. Clearly the man is innocent. I do not want to give away to much more of the plot as many others have not yet read this book. I think you will enjoy it as I did.
I think To Kill A Mockingbird is so popular and loved because it is a book of gentle wisdom. For many it will be the only book they read that will ever be on a list of best novels. It is almost a Young Adult Book even though it deals with adult themes. The father is a very wise and strong man. He loves to read and has passed this along to his daughter. In fact the daughter says reading is just like breathing to her, she does not love it she just does it. When I read what the daughter says about her father I had to show it to my wife as it hit close to home:
"He did not do the things our schoolmates' fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He just set in the living room and read".
Harper Lee captures well the speech of the characters. There is true insight into race relations in this work. One of the common social functions of prejudices is to keep one class of people in place through making them think that they are superior to another one. To Kill a Mockingbird does not tell us about this, it shows us how to learn from our own thoughts. There is real wisdom in this book. It is for sure worth the time to read it.
It is an easy read but it will stay in your mind. Millions of people love this book. For sure I would be happy for my 13 and 16 year old daughters to read it. I do not really think To Kill A Mockingbird should be approached as if it were a literary masterwork but it is a good read and a morally good book for sure.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a touching, written from the heart "Feel Good" book. It is an important part of the American reading life. American presidents have given her awards Talk show hosts swoon over Harper Lee. She never wrote another book. She was a childhood friend of Truman Capote and helped him research In Cold Blood. If you have not yet read this book, you probably should at some point, especially if you are a teacher or librarian as it is a good first serious book for young readers.
I am be reading this book for the following challenges:
- New Authors to You
- Global Reading Challenge
- Awesome Authors
- Centuries Reading Challenge
- Wish I Had Read That Challenge
- 52 books in 52 weeks
- Read Before I Die Challenge
- The Book Blogger Recommendations Challenge