27 January 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into ten languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
*This is a mini review*

I have always been wary of classics.  I had the misfortune of starting and completing Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger shortly before I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and it was one of many that made me question why classic books were "classic."  But when I started To Kill a Mockingbird, I wondered if it was one big cosmic joke.  Because To Kill a Mockingbird was good.

Of all the "classics" I've read, this was the only one I've seen that actually reads like a modern-day novel.  The voice of Scout was clear as a bell and immensely enjoyable.  I loved her sharp wit and stubborn streak and fighting spirit.  I also liked how Harper Lee made the prose mature and the dialogue child-like, so it really did sound like Scout was narrating her life from a much older age.  It also made the story so much easier to understand, and that's the point isn't it?  To understand the story.  Not something, I feel, most classics get.

Even before I saw the movie, I had pictured what Maycomb would've been like.  And with Harper Lee's excellent writing style, it was easy.  She took her time with it and put in details that made the setting come to life.

The characters were just as life-like.  I am a huge fan of Atticus and Cal and Jem.  Besides Scout, that is.  Scout was awesome.  To Kill a Mockingbird was simply jam-packed with unforgettable characters that told an unforgettable story.

Book Info

  • pages - mass market paperback, 50th anniversary addition, 376
  • published - 2010 (originally 1960)
  • publisher - Grand Central Publishing
  • genre - contemporary
  • received via - Barnes & Noble
  • rating - 5/5