A friend recommended To Kill a Mockingbird whilst we were in our early teens. I began reading it but didn’t get very far, at the time it wasn’t exactly my idea of leisurely read as a 13 year old. Fast- forward 10+ years, I have finally decided to find my dusty copy and give it another try.
I’ve filmed a Wrap Up Video reviewing TKAM but Filming videos still gives me stage fright.. So I’ve done a blog post as well to make sure I haven’t missed anything… Choose the format you prefer!
The novel is set in early 1930’s Alabama (United States) and is written from the perspective of Scout (Jean Louise Finch) who is a young girl between the ages of 6-9 years old. Scout is the daughter of a lawyer who has been assigned to defend a innocent black man who has been accused of raping a young white lady.
The mistake I made when I was younger when I attempted to read this book was to think that the entire book would be focused on this case so I was very disappointed when I realized it was not. It isn’t until a third into the book when the case was slowly introduced to the readers.I’d best describe To Kill a Mocking Bird to be somewhat of a coming of age story as we get to see Scout begin to make sense of the world and question why life around her is the way it is. Understanding race relations and inequality is a large part of this discovery. However it isn’t all that Scout begins to question throughout the book or develop an understanding on. Scout also skims themes such as Class, prejudice, Education, religion, sexism (gender stereotypes), and TOLERANCE. Tolerance of others views / opinions. Overall the conflicting perspectives and double standards Harper Lee presents us with through Scout’s community screams HYPOCRISY but through Atticus she also promotes Tolerance, patience and the importance of maintaining respect.
Scout is a great protagonist you get the curiosity, innocence and humor of a young child but you also get the concentration and depth you would expect from an adult protagonist. Scout has a strong personality isn’t afraid to voice her opinions stand up for what’s right and doesn’t think twice to defend those around her who she loves.
I found the chapters leading up to the case very innocent, and extremely enjoyable getting to know the characters within Maycomb. I was certainly more patient and was able to appreciate the plot build up.
The writing style was fantastic – just the perfect amount of description and analysis for me. I completely understand and agree to the novel being classed as a classic and great modern literature. It wasn’t the easiest of reads – the southern dialect and detail made things a little harder to digest – So it did take me a week or two.
I did enjoy this book but I can’t deny my expectations did affect my reading experience. Entirely my fault. I couldn’t help it but I was preoccupied with the court case and therefore was disappointed that audience weren’t a little more involved from that perspective. I think everyone who plans to read the book should avoid what I did and go in with an open mind and see it as more of a coming of age story rather than reducing the book to the court case which is only a small ( but nonetheless important) fraction of the book
Regardless I will give this a solid 4 stars and I will be reading ‘ Go Set a Watchman’