– Harper Lee
‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
I honestly don’t know where to start with this book; all I can think of right now is that it is amazing! I never expected to get into it as much as I did – I couldn’t put it down.
I loved Jem and Scout. The story, set in Albama at the time of the Great Depression, worked well being told from Scout’s point of view. At 8 years old she still has her innocence, and the racism in her town is a bit of a mystery. She has an idea of what’s right and wrong, which unfortunately doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the town, and that includes her ignorant school teachers. The beginning of the book solely focuses on Scout and Jem going about their normal lives, playing with their friend Dill and making up stories about their creepy neighbour. The second half of the book is where we learn more about Atticus and his job, as we follow the trial of a black man, accused of raping a white woman. Through this trial we see the children beginning to understand what is going on, causing them to grow up that little bit sooner.
Atticus was a great man. You could see that he was a huge role model for his children, and they really did look up to him. In fact, many of the times that Scout gets in trouble, it’s because she is defending her father! Atticus does what he thinks is right, and his job is what makes him stand out.
The writing is brilliant, and it’s never hard to believe the narrator. Scout never seems too old for her age, and everything feels believable. Very rarely will I give a book 5 stars, but this one definitely deserved them. It’s hard to believe that this was Harper Lee’s first novel. I didn’t study this in school and damn, I wish I had!
My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.