To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'
Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

To Kill A Mockingbird was not what I thought it'd be. I had never read it before but knew of it as this big American Classic and I always wanted to read it sometime. I'd never properly read the description of it so in my head I expected a book detailing the life of a black man's struggle against the white man's reign. As such it took me aback to discover the book is from the point of view of a young girl who's attorney dad tries to teach her and her brother a valuable lesson in life.

It is quite a good book, once you get into it (and accept the way it vastly differs from what you might have thought it'd be about), but it's also very long and heavy in my opinion. I was quite often bored despite it being well written and the main characters being fairly evolved.

I feel like I should probably give it 5 stars for painting a very accurate picture of the culture and mindset of the South in that era. But I was so very bored for the first 100 pages at least, having expected something entirely different and I'm honestly a bit unsure of what the ending meant. I'm glad I've read it, but not in love with the book at all.

To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
ISBN13: 9780434020485
309 pages / published in 1960

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014


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