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To Kill a Mockingbird

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960

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Second Time Around

  • Mar 9, 2011
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Rating:
+5
Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird revolves around the childhood of Scout and Jem Finch. Scout recalls the most important events of her life in those years: the quiet dignity of her father Atticus, her adventures with Jem and her friend Dill to sneak a peek at Boo Radley, and most of all the trial of Tom Robinson. Atticus must defend the innocent black man from charges of raping a white woman in the Alabama of the 1930's. In one summer, she grows up.

This novel has been challenged and banned from school libraries many times (it's #41 on the top 100 most challenged), for many reasons, but the racism is hard to ignore. It's uncomfortable to read, but necessary to the story. Scout's small town, both good (like Boo and Maudie) and the bad (the bigots and racists), is revealed to us through the innocence of a child's eye. It's a clever device by Lee to use that innocence to make an important point.

When I first read this book, I was a teenager. I related to Scout more than the other characters. Now as an adult I relate more to the adults, even though the point of view is Scout's.

Atticus Finch, although not the narrator, is the hero of the novel. He is a quiet, honest man, who uses his mind and his words to fight for justice. After the children have their eyes opened to the injustice in the world, they are comforted by the neighbour, Maudie: "...there are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father is one of them." He is a good foil for all the evil in the novel. At the beginning of the story, Atticus tells Scout:

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

This is an important statement. Throughout the book, we walk around in many of the character's skin: a new teacher, a poor farmer's son, a recluse, an accused black man and his pathetic accuser.

There are so many memorable characters is this book. Although it is character driven, there is plenty of action. It's a page turner and is truly a classic for all time.

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More To Kill a Mockingbird (book) reviews
review by . June 23, 2010
Harper Lee's novel is an iconic read that you will remember vividly from the day you read it. Set in the South where racism and prejudices still run rampant, the novel mainly focuses on Scout and Boo Radley, characters you are not likely to forget anytime soon. Scout, a rascally young girl, and Boo, her reclusive and mysterious neighbor, force the reader to reexamine their instant reactions and judgments of those they meet.      I first read this book as a high schooler …
review by . June 15, 2010
I was one of very few students in school who loved reading this as an assignment (though truthfully, I liked reading pretty much anything), this is the sort of book you can read over and over again. This book is interesting in that it covered a well addressed topic (racism) in a not so typical way. It really addressed all facets of what it meant to be white AND black in the South during a time when the legal system wasn't fair to blacks.      Reading this the first time …
Quick Tip by . April 12, 2011
While a bit on the plodding side, an important and inspiring read about one man's fight against racism.
review by . June 05, 2010
When I first read To Kill A Mockingbird, I was quite young and lived in the South in a town much like the one in the novel.  Albeit many years later, there was still the same feeling and still the same racism.  What Lee did was hit the very core of many small Southern towns, and in rereading the book a couple of years ago, it still resounds with me.      I also find it interesting that Harper Lee never really wrote another book.  Oh yes, she helped her friend, …
review by . July 21, 2010
I remember having to read this book for the first time my freshman year of high school in english class and being so moved by the story and even today, ten years later, it still stirs up so much emotion for me. Harper Lee's book, To Kill A Mockingbird, is a classic tale that is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago when it was published.  We would like to believe that so much has changed since then and that racial strife has disappeared, but sadly that is still not the case …
review by . June 14, 2010
Although most of us read Harper Lee's classic in high school, this is a must re-read as an adult.There is a reason that this book is extremely popular Lee's writing is so real and exact, it makes the characters come to life. To Kill a Mockingbird is such a quotable book. You will find yourself, once well versed in the story, quoting Atticus Finch along with Scout and others. "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside …
review by . June 10, 2010
If I had to choose five books to take to a desert island, this would be one of the five. One never tires of the story, the characters, and the lessons learned. It was written at the height of civil unrest and eloquently illustrates the need for reform between whites and African Americans. TKM is a story told through the eyes of a young girl living in the south with her father, brother, negro housekeeper, and for awhile, a difficult aunt. The girl in question is named Scout, her father Atticus …
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2010
Written a scant three years before Martin Luther King awed the world with his magnificent "I have a dream" speech, Harper Lee also stunned the world with this poignant story centered on the unconscionable treatment accorded to the black man in USA's Deep South.
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2010
A brilliant and moving novel that will never be forgotten regardless of how many years go by. Beautifully written by a sensitive and observant writer. Perhaps the finest novel about childhood written by someone not named Twain or Joyce.
Quick Tip by . December 11, 2010
Once a very pertinent and controversial book. It has not aged well, and the movie takes more than just a little away from a book already trying desperately to stay relevant. A very noble effort in both medias, but noble efforts of a different era.
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Wiki

The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator's father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers, and a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explained the novel's impact by writing, " in the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism."

The primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence, but scholars have also noted that Lee addresses the issues of class tensions, courage and compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. The book is widely taught in schools in English-speaking countries with lessons that emphasize tolerance and decry prejudice. Despite its themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has been the target of various campaigns to have it removed from public classrooms. Often the book is challenged for its use of racial epithets, and writers have noticed that although white readers react favorably to the novel, black readers tend to respond less positively.

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Books, Book, Cafe Libri, Fiction, Literature, Classic, Race Relations, Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Details

ISBN-13: 978-0791075616
Author: Harper Lee
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: J. B. Lippincott & Co.
Date Published: July 11, 1960
Polls with this book
1984 (British first edition)

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