To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
"The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos" (Goodreads Synopsis).
Pg 1, Sentence 1: "When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow."
From sentence one, we see that Scout Finch (ahem, that is, Miss Jean Louise Finch...according to her Aunt Alexandra) is very close to her brother Jem. This book is about family as much as it is about racial inequality during the 1930s. For all of its faults, my favorite aspect of this novel is its small town full of quirky characters. Miss Maudie and Uncle Jack are among my favorite characters. Having just re-watched the movie, I was a little disappointed that a lot of my favorite scenes from the book were left out. Don't get me wrong, the movie is fantastic and Gregory Peck is still adorable...I mean, amazing. However, how can you leave out dialogue like this:
Miss Stephanie: “Jem Finch!”
Atticus: “Where’re your pants, son?”
Jem: “Pants, sir?”
Dill: “Ah—Mr. Finch?”
Atticus: “What is it, Dill?”
Dill: “Ah—I won ‘em from him.”
Atticus: “Won them? How?”
Dill: “We were playin strip poker up yonder by the fishpool.”
Miss Rachel: “Do-o-o Jee-sus, Dill Harris! Gamblin’ by my fishpool? I’ll strip-poker you, sir!”
We see so many heavy themes in To Kill a Mockingbird, it's easy to forget these little scenes of humor that made this book one of the few assigned reading books I didn't mind reading in high school.
This book makes you laugh, it makes you angry, and it makes you sit at the edge of your seat in terror while Jem and Scout are being chased through the dark by someone meaning to kill them. Scout is aged 6-9 years old during the story, and it's interesting to see the world through the eyes of a child as she tries to interpret why adults say one thing and do another--why "the way things are" isn't always the way things should be--and why it's always a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Read this book NOT because your teacher tells you to...NOT because I'm telling you to, but because this book will be one of the few books you read that you will never forget.
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