To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: 52 in 52 Book #27


To Kill a Mockingbird

So, I had never read To Kill a Mockingbird before. I was one of very few people it seems who never studied this book at school or had it recommended to me as a teenager, a fact which some of the people I mentioned this to found amusing. At GCSE, I studied Lord of the Flies by William Golding (really good, recommend!) and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (to me, mind-numbingly dull until I discovered the “and Zombies” version) so missed out on the profound and interesting events as told by Scout Finch.

Lent to me by a friend, I started reading this book and without realising it, read the first hundred pages in one go. The book was so comfortable to read. It wasn’t heavy or demanding but gently kept your interest going, listening to a little girl recount playing with her brother and friends and starting school. Reading it was like sitting down with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s in front of your favourite film in your pyjamas: nice and relaxed. Even as the book takes you down a darker path it never feels forced or uncomfortable, except where the book intends it to be. Rape, injustice, murder are all covered in the cosiest of ways.

That’s not to say there weren’t any thought-provoking points made. As a book that is studied by high school children across the globe, this book has more than enough passages and sentiments to keep the little cogs whirring. The way this book delivers these makes it even more amazing. It doesn’t shove these sentiments down your throat at all (or at least, I didn’t feel so). They have been gently slipped into the prose so that it doesn’t feel like an intrusion on the story or that you’re being preached to. Another brilliant part about the sentiments is that they are seen from a child’s point of view. As the book points out, adults have prejudices and often make judgements whereas children are a clean slate. Children will not learn a prejudice unless they are taught it. Seeing the way the different characters react to and interpret events makes this book multifaceted and engaging.

I would imagine that a lot of you have read this before but if you have not, please please please do! I understand why it is coveted as an educational text and why so many people sing this book’s praises. My review does not do this book justice and I do firmly believe this is a book everyone should read in their lifetime.

Kat

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