My book club is reading Go Set A Watchman this month (look for my review next week!) so I thought it was the perfect time to revisit To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I feel like I missed so much of the nuance of this novel reading it as a teenager. I was moody about being forced to read a children’s book (when I was obviously so much better than that) and as such just moped my way through it, totally missing the beautifully descriptive writing within.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos.
What I Loved
I don’t think I’ve ever read a young adult book before that is so unflinching in the face of adult topics. I liked that it didn’t seem to pander to its audience; it uses the sort of vocabulary that would have most teens sitting next to a dictionary. I also loved the characters of Scout and Miss Maudie, with Miss Maudie constantly stealing every scene.
What I Didn’t Love
It’s such a small thing but I felt like the character of Atticus was too idealised, he was almost too perfect. It really affected my enjoyment of the story. I kept coming out of the illusion and thinking that no-one actually speaks like that. I preferred the characterisation of Jem, I felt Lee captured a teenage boy growing into a man, the negative as well as the positive.
Overall, I did enjoy it, but I didn’t get as emotional about it as most people seem to. While some things are universal, my Australian upbringing means that I related more about the racism presented in Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence. I felt the same way about Lincoln when I saw it – I could see why other people would praise it, but I feel more emotional towards events that are a part of my country’s history.
My Rating: (3.5 / 5)