Publication Date: 1960
An unforgettable classic set in a small, sleepy, Southern town and the crisis that rocked it.
I've never really had a problem with assigned reading for school. Generally, I've enjoyed a lot of what I had to read for school and have re-read several of those books. Others have stayed with me for years and years because I had never read anything like it before. And I think TKAM will be one of those books.
This was part of my English work and I had to read and analyze it, taking notes in the book and underlining things (I couldn't do it, I had a separate notebook for that instead) so that I could write an essay on it later. But because I can't use my essay as a review, here's something less academic.
I've wanted to read this for awhile and when I started it, I was super excited. I wanted to know the whole meaning behind "To Kill A Mockingbird" which I always wanted to call "To Kill A Mockingjay" because of the Hunger Games. I wanted to know what made this such a classic and why people loved it so much. Of course, I knew that there was a high chance that I wouldn't understand it on a super intellectual level, or that I might not even like it, but I was still excited.
And I ended up loving the book! I've already made up my mind to read this, probably in the next year or two. I enjoyed the plot, the setting, and the characters so much. Not to mention how well this explores themes such as racism, prejudice, hatred, integrity, and family. I greatly admire Harper Lee (whom I always thought was a man, for some reason. It makes no sense) for how she addressed these themes so directly and how she translated it all on to paper. And the childlike POV that we get as readers allows us to see everything from a completely different angle, with an innocence that most of us have already lost.
I enjoyed the mystery of Boo Radley (whom I had always thought was the name of a dog) and watching Scout grow up. She was so vibrant and curious, it made me smile to think about how her childish innocence is now something that is rarely seen in children. The way she viewed life, family, hatred, it was all so interesting. And I really liked that we get to read everything from her POV, to see what she sees and understand it in the same way she does. Having a child's perspective on something so important, something that we still struggle with in the modern day, it was highly refreshing and made me think about several things that are said and dealt with in the book.
On top of that, there were so many lines that I loved from the book. I have written down numerous quotes that I either related to, or impacted me in some way. Scout has several quotes that I loved because of how much I related to it.
Which brings me to my next point - it was so easy to relate to the characters. I found myself relating to Scout and Jem the most, which would be expected since they're both a little closer to my age than any of the other characters. Scout's love of reading and wild imagination reminded me of myself when I was her age, which was...10 years ago. Wow. Okay. Moving on. I related to Jem, again for his love of books and knowledge, and also because he's the older sibling, just like I am. I could understand what it's like to care for a younger sibling and crave that alone time, and also his desire for justice. Actually, both Scout and Jem's desires for justice remind me a lot of myself. I've been told by several people that I should become a lawyer, and I have a feeling that one of the Finch children will become a lawyer.
The ending took me by surprise completely. I was not expecting any of that. That doesn't mean that I didn't like it though, because I did really like how it ended. I didn't feel like there were any loose ends or conclusions that were lacking, so that's always nice. I can totally see how this is a standalone, and yet it has a "sequel," at the same time, which I do want to get my hands on a read.
Like I've already said, I found myself relating to Scout quite easily. I still have the same love for reading that she does and the wild imagination that is probably not the best thing for either of us. Her personality, mostly her stubbornness, reminded me a lot of myself as well. And I really loved that the whole story was told through her perspective. She viewed things in a way that I don't think I would now, or would have at her age. It was really nice to be brought back to the simplicity of a child's mindset and realize how things really only become complicated when we get older and choose to make them into complicated situations.
Jem is probably one of the most caring brothers I have ever read about in fiction. The way he watches out for Scout, even if he does get frustrated with her, is so admirable. More boys should learn to be like him. His vision of justice and his ideas about how things should be remind me of when I was younger and wanted everything to play out in the most idealistic manner. I pretty much loved everything about him.
Please someone tell me that Dill and Scout eventually get together, because they are so cute. Dill is so sweet and funny and comfortable in his own skin, and the way he treats Scout is so adorable. Honestly, I think this kid treats Scout better than most guys treat their female friends now, much less their girlfriends.
5 stars! This is definitely a classic that you should pick up if you didn't read it for school. Reading it will make you understand why it is such a classic and why it changed American literature so much. Oh, and I'll be watching the movie as well, because I want to see how this translated to the screen and also to see if there is anything in the movie that I missed in the book.