To Kill a Mockinbird by Harper Lee: A+

From the back cover:
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. 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 such a lovely book, full of spots that make me sniffly and full of real and vibrant characters, including children who are not idealized or always loveable. I like Scout and Jem a lot, but my heart really belongs to Atticus. Mild guys trying to be good fathers just tug my heartstrings, I suppose.

To Kill a Mockingbird deals with the difficult subject of a black man accused of a crime by a white woman and her father, and its impact on a community, in a way that is understated and illuminating. Very seldom does the story veer into territory that could be considered preachy.

It’s so much more than that, though. It’s about justice and human decency, the definition of real courage, the Finch children seeing their father in a new light, the limitations of small-mindedness, childhood innocence, and learning to put oneself in another’s shoes. Most highly recommended.

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  1. Hmm, interesting.

    I only read this book once, back in 9th grade — it was on our summer reading list, and we had to read 4 out of 6 books. I remember tolerating it only because the main character was female, which put it at least several cuts above Lord of the Flies.

    But I definitely didn’t love it, and I’ve never felt the urge to reread it.

  2. I liked Scout’s name. Definitely a better book than some of the junk we had to read.

  3. I never had to read this in school, actually, though it’s definitely in the “high school reading” category in my mind. It was only about 10 years ago that a roommate of mine had a copy that I borrowed. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for such books, and there’s another in my library stack that I need to get to. 🙂

    It is /not/ Lord of the Flies. I abhored that book.

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