Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird
Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Publication Date: 7/11/60
Pages: 336
Genre: Historical / Classic / Fiction
How I Found It: Had to reread for my Gender in Contemporary Literature course
Previous Readings: Many. The first of which was in sixth or seventh grade.
Date Completed: 3/7/15

Summary: A quiet Southern town is rocked when a poor, white girl accuses a black man of raping her. The novel itself centers around Scout and Jem Finch, children of lawyer Atticus Finch, who is defending the accused, Tom Robinson.

What I Thought: Where do I even begin?

This is my favorite book. Of them all. 

Kevin bought me the hardcover 50th anniversary edition for my birthday a few years back because my old paperback copy from middle school was literally falling apart. It was right about that time I knew I was going to marry him. The gift of TKAM must have subconsciously sealed it for me. To this day, it is probably my favorite gift he has ever given me. 

So why is it my favorite book? I've read so many - probably  thousands at this point in my life. To be honest, I am not completely sure I can articulate it for you. Reading it for the first time at the cusp of adolescence certainly had something to do with it. Nothing like reading a coming of age novel as you yourself are doing so. 

I love the perfection of Harper Lee's writing. Every word is placed precisely. Nothing out of order, nothing superfluous, nothing missing. It's honed to its highest potential.

I love the messages within. Bravery, education, equality, justice...all are celebrated. And, yet, Lee does not offer a perfectly happy ending. The story is real, painful and beautiful and real.

I love the characters. Every last one of them. With, perhaps, the exception of the Ewells. They are complex and carefully crafted. They are not stereotypes, but living, breathing, creations who you could easily imagine meeting on the streets in the south 60 years ago. Lee allows her characters to grow and learn and be shaped by the events in the book in the most natural ways. 

I love Atticus Finch. I just do. He is one of my all-time favorite literary characters, though I do not know if I can pick just one in that category. I want to style my parenting after his own, to treat my children with respect and make reading and learning so a part of household lifestyle that they come second nature. I love that he fights for what is right in a quiet, humble way. He stands for what he believes in, not to prove anything to anyone else, but because he needs to for himself. I have begged and begged Kevin to let us name our son Atticus, should we have one. Despite winning him over to be a die-hard TKAM fan, he still firmly refuses on that front. I guarantee you our first dog will be named Atticus, though. In fact, just the other day I asked Kevin if we could get a dog with an Atticus-like demeanor as well (quiet, steadfast, loyal).

More than anything, though, I love that this book offers something new every time you read it. I am never disappointed by it, no matter how much I build it up in my mind since the last reading. Every time I enter the world of Maycomb County, I find new things to learn and to amaze me. A book which does that is a real treasure.

I cannot believe it took me over three years of having this blog to write about my all-time favorite book. But now you know and now it's here. If you have never read this classic, I cannot recommend it to you strongly enough. Even my husband, who you all know is a notoriously picky reader, finished it and asked why it couldn't just keep going forever. He would have been perfectly content to continue reading about Scout, Jem, Dill, Boo Radley, and the rest of Maycomb's citizens for volumes more. I cannot imagine a higher compliment from him.  

Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: Again and again and again and again
If You Liked This Try: The only thing that compares are other truly classic works. Go pick up some F. Scott Fitzgerald or John Steinbeck.

A Reduced Review: The great American novel. Harper Lee's classic only improves with each reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment