Publication Date: May 21st 2015 (first published July 11th 1960)
Publisher: Vintage Children’s Classics
Genres: Classic, Historical Fiction, Literature
Part of Series? Yes (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Goodreads Blurb: ‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird’
Meet Scout, the narrator of this book. Her story is one of Deep South summers, fights at school and playing in the street. The spooky house of her mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, sags dark and forbidding nearby. Her brother, Jem, and her friend, Dill, want to make Boo come outside.
Her story is about justice. When Scout’s father, a lawyer, agrees to defend a black man against an accusation by a white girl, he must battle the prejudice of the whole town.
It’s about imagination – not just the kind you need for childhood games. Because you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.
I don’t think that anyone in the book community doesn’t know about this book. This is a classic – a must read classic which everyone is supposed to read. I mean that’s the point of including it in the list of must read classics in a lifetime. I couldn’t agree more. This is an epic tale of family love, racism before world war and the existential circumstances way back then. I know this is one of the favourite books of most of the people and I can understand the reasons, but for me, it was not a perfect 5-star read. I had some issues with this book which explains a star less rating. Let’s go into the details.
Storyline & plot
This is a story about Finch family and their neighbourhood, in a small and sleepy place called Maycomb, set in the era of 1930s. Atticus Finch has two children, Jeremy Finch and Scout Finch. This story is set from Scout’s perspective. Finch’s had a cook named Calpurnia and she was like a mother to both the children. She often scolded them like a mother would have. Scout was very close to her father. Both of the children had a friend Dill who used to come there during summer. They had a neighbour Boo Radley, whom they never saw but wanted to see because of the various rumors in the town about him. He was black. The children wanted to do various things to take out Boo Radley from his home but they were too afraid of him. Later they found various gifts from Boo Radley placed in a tree trunk.
Atticus was a lawyer and when he took the case of a Negro named Tom Robinson, their whole life changed. Racism was on peak those days and Atticus got many hateful words for taking the case of a black man from the whole town. Tom was handicapped but still was accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell. Ewell was the family which most of the people in town hated. Atticus tried his best to save Tom but he already knew the result. He knew that the white jury when never give the results in favour of a black man and thus Tom was convicted. Jem and Scout witnessed this whole situation in the court and the final result literally shook them, especially Jem. The whole situation around them changed and their lives were now different. There occurred various incidents which in turn made their even stronger to face the critical situations.
How will Atticus battle the prejudice of the whole town after taking a case of black man? What happened to the black man, Tom Robinson, after he was convicted? Will the children be able to cope up with the judgment of the case? What effect the result of the case made on their lives? Will the racism stop? What will Ewell do after the court’s decision? Will the children be able to see Boo Radley ever?
I was amazed by the character building of the writer. All the characters were great and well created. Every character was portrayed with detailed characteristics, even the neighbours.
Scout was a very brave and curious girl. Her character represents a strong woman, though she was 6-9 years old. She not only loved and respected her father but also did the same for her brother Jem. They loved each other very much and were always a support to each other.
Jem was a strong boy too. he wanted to take care of his father, to understand him well. He took care of Scout as his father would take. He often became furious when anyone said anything about his father. Throughout the story, his mood was changing as he was going through age changing stuff. But I liked his character very much as he behaved like a mature person throughout the story.
Beautifully written characters. Ideal father, ideal children, caught in the middle of a chaos.
Atticus was an ideal father. he was a father that children would wish to have. Both of his children loved him very much and so did he. Atticus was an honest man, a man of his words. He was a man with wisdom and he never differentiated between blacks and whites. Usually, he remained calm and was equally respected by all in Maycomb county. Atticus always told his children to look through other person’s life from their point of view.
Writing & Perception
The whole story was believable. The writing was simple but somewhat was like old American English. It was easy to understand but there were some words which were unfamiliar to me. The writing is remarkable if we speak of the author. The flow of the story was perfectly set. It was a little bit slow at the starting.
Apart from family love, this story was highly about the racism issue which was at its peak at that time in America. When Atticus took the case of a black man, Tom Robinson, the whole town was against him and was using hateful comments for it. Racism is such a curse to our society and I am glad that it is no more there (at least on the large scale). It divides our society. Harper Lee has portrayed this racism issue very well.
Sometimes, it was hard for me to believe that the story was being told from a PoV of a six years old unless they are that mature in the real world too (which I highly doubt 😛 ). There were various introductions of the neighbours that I felt were totally unnecessary. I actually lost my concentration at many points while reading this extra details. Though it was good to know the lives of neighbours in the county, the details of every one of them were not at all helping to the story. It felt as if they were added just for extra length.
The most interesting and fast moving part of the story was the trial of Tom Robinson. That court scene definitely did help me in giving a good rating to this book. I really enjoyed that scene, as I love court scenes!
What I liked
- I really liked the family bond of Finches. It was great how Harper Lee portrayed the perfect father and his children.
- The writing was simple (except for few places) and easily understandable.
- I really liked that whole court scene at the end.
- Racism was depicted in a very subtle manner
- It teaches you many great things.
What I Didn’t Like
- It was hard to believe that the story’s main protagonist was a 6 year old girl (when the story started). At some places, I was unable to imagine that the voice is of that younger girl.
- All the extra details of the neighbours were unnecessary and were extra lengthy.
- I wanted to see more of Book Radley and to know more about his story.
Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
Final Thoughts and Impact
Though I did have some issues with this book, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. I really did. In fact, this is such a book that is a must read not just for adults but for children too. One can learn many things from this story like the value of family, the value of truth, difference between right and wrong etc. It gives a very good insight of living in that era like thinking of the people, how girls were supposed to dress, how they were supposed to talk etc. This book teaches you the value of friendship and to be stronger and helpful, and also tells you the importance of family bond.
This is definitely worth reading at least once. I am really glad that I finally read it.
It teaches you the value of friendship, teaches you to be stronger and helpful and tell you the importance of family bond.
Would recommend to
- All the bookworms who love to read classics.
- Who loves to read historical fiction.
- who like to read some serious book.
A fun fact
The most used word in this book, what I thought, was “Reckon“.
Have you read this? Was it a 5 star read for you? If not, what were the points that you didn’t liked?
Thanks for reading and stay connected! ♥