PopSugar Reading Challenge: A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School

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.

mockingbird amazon

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 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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