To Kill a Mockingbird
By: Harper Lee
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
The year is 1960, and Harper Lee has just written one of the great American novels. One hundred years after the Civil War and on the cusp of the Civil Rights Movement, Lee writes about the coming of age of the adventurous Jem and Scout Finch and the racial unrest in their small Alabama town. Scout’s insatiable imagination and inquisitive nature inspires the readers to dream. The nature of this story calls us to question stereotypes and social norms, and the Finch family (Atticus, Jem, Scout and Calpurnia) reminds us the value of integrity and a place to call home.
Wherever and whenever I could, I found moments to steal away and sneak in chapters from this classic. I would reminiscence of years ago when I read this in school, and I couldn’t help but think of the discussions we must have had and how different they would be from a classroom discussion today. My time spent at a liberal university has taught me that anything intended for good can be used as a weapon for evil . . . or in this case, for a political plight. Maybe it is just my over-active, analyzing brain at work, but how sad to think that such a classic piece of literature could be used to fight a battle it was never intended to fight.
It hasn’t been that long since I first read this book that I forgot how much I enjoyed it, but just long enough that I didn’t remember all the details. So, when I came to the second half of the book and the courtroom scenes, I fell in love all over again. Maybe Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was part of the reason that I had allusions of grandeur of one day becoming a lawyer. Certainly, it laid the groundwork for me to be a huge fan of author John Grisham (reading another one of his now).
Have you read Lee’s award-winning work? How many times? Or maybe it has been on your “playlist” for some time now. I’d love to have you over to sit around my dining room table, drinking coffee and sharing stories. I wonder what direction our discussion would take? Would it be a friendly debate or a group consensus? Find a cozy corner, a warm mug and this classic novel and join the discussion in the comment section below!
One word of caution about the book’s language: The “n” word is used throughout (I imagine it to be comparable to the dialect used in the south during the 1940’s). In addition, there were occasional uses of other “mild” curse words. For this, I subtracted one star from my rating and would recommend it for teens (with parental permission and interaction) and up.