- “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
- ISBN: 0446310786 / ISBN13: 9780446310789
- Number of Pages: 376
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- Publication Date: 11 October 1988 (first published 1960)
- Date Read: 08 October 2015
- Rating: ★★★★★
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.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
This book was one of the first books I have bought when I started bookstagramming, because I know this was a popular book and a modern classic, something I know I want to read. However, it is also the reason why I put off reading it – knowing that this book was a usual choice of required reading in the American schools, it made me feel hesitant that I might not be able to relate to it, or it might be a difficult book to read.
I finally decided to read the book when my book club on Instagram (@bookishpinoys) decided to read books with movie adaptation. This wasn’t my first choice, but I so happened to see a full movie on YouTube and wanted to read it, so I made sure I read the book first.
All my hesitations about this book flew away when I finished the first two chapters. It was surprisingly easy to read and so interesting, I kept flipping page after page. Though it was set during the 1960s, it was something that hits close to home, because even if I was born in 1980, I could say I was able to experience the rural life – similar to that small town in Alabama where this book was set, especially in my mom’s hometown where progress was a little slower compared to the one here in Metro Manila. Anyway, Jem and Scout were two very fun and interesting characters, each with their own unique individuality, but at the same time, their characters just jive well together.
Actually, this book had a handful of characters, but each were characterized well and is the book’s biggest strength, in my opinion. I couldn’t name anyone that didn’t provide color to the story, though when it comes to the secondary characters, I would say Boo Radley was the most fascinating. Analyzing their actions and their significance brought tears to my eyes, and I was actually amazed at how people of different ages view things and actions. Take for instance the character of Mrs. Dubose… when the 12-year-old Jem received the gift from the old lady, he was upset, but the 35-year-old me was very emotional about it. I guess this is what makes the book a classic – if you read this in your early years (like Jem and Scout), your opinions will be valid, but will definitely be different if you read this when you’re an adult. Kids back then may read this again and might find it still powerful, despite their changed views. Of course, everyone who has read the book would name Atticus Finch as their favorite, and he is my favorite character in the book, too. Scout had some valid complaints about him as a father, but overall, I wished I could meet a would be husband like him, for he did make a good father.
So many social factors shaped this book. Some were horrifying, some were fun, some were uplifting, while others heartbreaking. It was really difficult living during that time, especially when you’re at a losing end, but this book managed to let the readers see a glimpse of the good life people of color had during that time. I truly loved the church scene, and should you read the book, I am sure you will love it, too.
I would like to share my thoughts about the main scene of this book, but I realized doing so – even if I wouldn’t share what the exact scene was about – would somehow spoil it for you. What happened in the book still happens one way or another, regardless of one’s race, social status, and sexual preferences. Life sure is unfair sometimes, but this book made me believe in humanity.
Read this book. Whatever hesitations you have, shake it off and read it. I promise you, you will be surprised at how good this book is, and if this has been sitting on your TBR shelf for quite sometime, I am sure you will scold yourself for putting off reading this book.
Author Harper Lee died February 19, 2016. Through this blog post, I just want to express my gratitude towards her for writing this story. Rest in peace, Nelle.