In To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch is a single father raising his two children, Jem and Scout, in Maycomb County, Alabama under the watchful eyes of dear and eccentric neighbors. Atticus rules the roost with a seemingly lenient hands off approach (he has Calpurnia to more strongly keep the kids in line), but also does his best to raise his children with principles and respect. When he is called upon to defend a young black man accused of raping a white woman, he refuses to shirk his duty though, his actions will have far reaching consequences for himself and his children.
I decided to take the plunge last month when Heather, from A Capricious Reader, announced festivities to celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary. I had yet to read this highly acclaimed and much loved novel, though I have spotted To Kill A Mockingbird on the favorites list of many a reader. I wondered about this book, and why it is almost universally loved. This will be a pretty short review as “read this book” basically sums up my thoughts on the matter, and most people probably already have! You have to experience it for yourself.
As soon as I started reading, I loved it. The language is rich and inviting, and I was captivated by the world of Scout and Jem, their interactions with the neighborhood, and with Atticus. I loved getting to know the eccentric habits of the townspeople that Scout and Jem encounter – with whom they bond, and from whom they learn valuable lessons which will inform the adults they become. Lee excels with this novel because the characters and the town that she portrays are so vivid and fully realized. The relationship that Scout has with her father, brother and Calpurnia are touching, and I loved the fact that the she wasn’t perfect, but was a little girl of her time, learning and growing when experiences demanded it of her. This was one of the few books this year that I wanted to start reading again as soon as I had finished it. I can see how Harper Lee would have retired from writing after such a wonderful novel such.
A Must Read.