To Kill a Mockingbird
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. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

To Kill a Mockingbird Details

TitleTo Kill a Mockingbird
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 23rd, 2006
PublisherHarper Perennial Modern Classics
ISBN0061120081
ISBN-139780061120084
Number of pages324 pages
Rating
GenreClassics, Historical Fiction, Academic, School, Literature, Young Adult, Read For School, Novels, Historical, High School, Coming Of Age

To Kill a Mockingbird Review

  • Meghan
    October 14, 2008
    If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one would ever have to read it again.I think that To Kill A Mockingbird has such a prominent place in (American) culture because it is a naive, idealistic piece of writing in which naivete and idealism are ultimately rewarded. It's a saccharine, rose-tinted eulogy for the nineteen thirties from an orator who comes not If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one would ever have to read it again.I think that To Kill A Mockingbird has such a prominent place in (American) culture because it is a naive, idealistic piece of writing in which naivete and idealism are ultimately rewarded. It's a saccharine, rose-tinted eulogy for the nineteen thirties from an orator who comes not to bury, but to praise. Written in the late fifties, TKAM is free of the social changes and conventions that people at the time were (and are, to some extent) still grating at. The primary dividing line in TKAM is not one of race, but is rather one of good people versus bad people -- something that, of course, Atticus and the children can discern effortlessly. The characters are one dimensional. Calpurnia is the Negro who knows her place and loves the children; Atticus is a good father, wise and patient; Tom Robinson is the innocent wronged; Boo is the kind eccentric; Jem is the little boy who grows up; Scout is the precocious, knowledgable child. They have no identity outside of these roles. The children have no guile, no shrewdness--there is none of the delightfully subversive slyness that real children have, the sneakiness that will ultimately allow them to grow up. Jem and Scout will be children forever, existing in a world of black and white in which lacking knowledge allows people to see the truth in all of its simple, nuanceless glory. I think that's why people find it soothing: TKAM privileges, celebrates, even, the child's point of view. Other YA classics--Huckleberry Finn; Catcher in the Rye; A Wrinkle in Time; The Day No Pigs Would Die; Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Bridge to Terabithia--feature protagonists who are, if not actively fighting to become adults, at least fighting to find themselves as people. There is an active struggle throughout each of those books to make sense of the world, to define the world as something larger than oneself, as something that the protagonist can somehow be a part of. To Kill A Mockingbird has no struggle to become part of the world--in it, the children *are* the world, and everything else is just only relevant in as much as it affects them. There's no struggle to make sense of things, because to them, it already makes sense; there's no struggle to be a part of something, because they're already a part of everything. There's no sense of maturation--their world changes, but it leaves them, in many ways, unchanged, and because of that, it fails as a story for me. The whole point of a coming of age story--which is what TKAM is generally billed as--is that the characters come of age, or at least mature in some fashion, and it just doesn't happen. All thematic issues aside, I think that the writing is very, er, uneven, shall we say? Overwhelmingly episodic, not terribly consistent, and largely as dimensionless as the characters.
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  • Jon
    April 7, 2012
  • Kim
    March 11, 2008
    Why is it when I pick up To Kill A Mockingbird , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay. Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes pla Why is it when I pick up To Kill A Mockingbird , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay. Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes place in Alabama and mostly in the summer, well there is that one climatic scene on Halloween, but I bet it’s still hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey. It must be the school thing, my daughter just finished reading it, prompting me to give it another go, to fall back into Scout’s world and pretend to be eight and let life simply be. How is that? How can life for Scout be simple? I mean, she lives in the south, during the depression, she has to deal with ignorant schoolteachers and town folk, her ideas of what is right, what is what it should be are laughed at by her schoolmates… man, and I thought my childhood was rough. Still, she lives in this idyllic town, I mean, except for the racism and the creepy neighbors and the whole fact that it’s, you know, the south…(forgive me… I’m not immune to the downfalls of the north, I mean, we had witches and well, Ted Bundy was born here…) But, there’s this sense of childlike innocence to this book that makes me believe in humanity… even in the throes of evil. What am I saying here? I guess, that this is a good pick me up. What I also get from this book is that I have severe Daddy issues. I consume Atticus Finch in unnatural ways. He is the ultimate father; he has the perfect response for every situation. He is the transcendent character. My heart melts at each sentence devoted to him and I just about crumble during the courtroom scene. Am I gushing? I sure am. I was raised by a man who thought that Budweiser can artwork was the epitome of culture. That drinking a 6-pack was the breakfast of champions. That college was for sissies. He could throw out a racial slur without a single thought, care or worry to who was around. I won't even get into the debates/rantings of a 16 yr old me vs a 42 yr old him... What a role model. So, I thank Harper Lee for giving me Atticus. I can cuddle up with my cider and pretend that I’m basking in his light. I can write this blurb that makes sense to maybe a handful but that is okay, I am approved of and all is good.
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  • Stephen
    March 18, 2010
    6.0 stars. I know I am risking a serious “FILM AT 11” moment and a club upside the head from Captain Obvious for voicing this, but nabbit dog I still think it needs to be said…TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT American novels ever written. Okay, I said it, and I will wait patiently while you get your DUHs and DERs out of the way and hang your “no shit” signs outside for Inspector Holmes.Okay, now given the gruntload of reviews/ratings this book has I know I’m not the f 6.0 stars. I know I am risking a serious “FILM AT 11” moment and a club upside the head from Captain Obvious for voicing this, but nabbit dog I still think it needs to be said…TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT American novels ever written. Okay, I said it, and I will wait patiently while you get your DUHs and DERs out of the way and hang your “no shit” signs outside for Inspector Holmes.Okay, now given the gruntload of reviews/ratings this book has I know I’m not the first person to wag my chin about how amazing it is. Still, I am going to chance coming off like that annoying dingleberry at the tail end of a huge porcelain party because I truly have a pile of love for this book. …(Sorry for taking the metanalogy there just now, but I promise no more poop references for the rest of the review)... So if my review can bring a few more people into the Atticus Finch Fan Club, I will be just flush with happy. On one level, this book is a fairly straight-forward coming of age story about life in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression. It has a very slice of lifesaver warmth and simplicity to it that I think resonates with a lot of readers. It certainly does with me and I think the adjective “charm” may have been invented to describe the novel. Despite how easing flowing the narrative is, this book is both extremely and deceptively powerful in its discussion of race, tolerance and human decency. Most importantly, this book shows us by example the courage to stand all up in the grill of injustice and say “Not today, Asshole! Not on my watch.” That is a lesson that I think we can never be reminded of too often. When bad people do bad things to good people, the rest of us good people need to sack up and be counted regardless of how scary it might be. Easier said then done, I know. But at least that should be the standard to which we strive. Atticus Fitch is the epitome of that standard. He is the role model to end all role models and what is most impressive is that he comes across as such a REAL person. There is no John Wayne/Jack Bauer/Dirty Harry cavalry charging BSD machismo about him. Just a direct, unflinching, unrelenting willingness to always do what he thinks is right. As Atticus’ daughter Scout puts it so well: It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. I was to make something crystal before going on because it is an important part of my love of this story. Notwithstanding this book's powerful, powerful moral message, it never once…ever…comes off as preachy or heavy handed. There is no lecture to be given here. The only sermon we are privy to is the example of Atticus Finch and the simple yet unwavering strength and quiet decency of the man. Even when asked by his daughter about the horrendous racism being displayed by the majority of the townsfolk during a critical point in the story, Atticus responds with conviction but without: "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." This is a special story. Oh, and as a huge bonus…it is also an absolute joy to read. Lee’s prose is silky smooth and as cool as the other side of the pillow. Read this book. Read it with your children, read it with your spouse, read it by yourself….read it the bigoted assclown that you work with or see around the neighborhood…Just make sure you read it. It is a timeless classic and one of the books that I consider a “life changer.” 6.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!!BONUS QUOTE: This is Scout talking to Atticus after getting to know someone she had previously be afraid of: “ ‘When they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . .’ His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’ He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”(Emphasis added)
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  • Brina
    April 3, 2016
    As I finished the timeless classic To Kill a Mockingbird, I thought to myself what can I add to a review that the 2 million or so good reads reviewers have not already pointed out. I continued to think to myself about what has made the novel so beloved and decided to focus on a character trait: courage. I read Mockingbird in ninth grade English and I remember the best essay in the class focused on courage. Now reading all these years later, I see how courage is a theme throughout the book. Harpe As I finished the timeless classic To Kill a Mockingbird, I thought to myself what can I add to a review that the 2 million or so good reads reviewers have not already pointed out. I continued to think to myself about what has made the novel so beloved and decided to focus on a character trait: courage. I read Mockingbird in ninth grade English and I remember the best essay in the class focused on courage. Now reading all these years later, I see how courage is a theme throughout the book. Harper Lee has integrated being courageous into most of the characters in the book starting with the main protagonists. In 1930s rural Maycomb, Alabama people were pretty much set in their way of life. Yet when the court case threatening to disrupt this life hit, the court system knew only one person had the courage to be the defense attorney: Atticus Finch. Despite having a decent chance to win, Atticus realized he had no chance because a jury would never favor a black man over a white regardless of the circumstances. Maintaining the same values at court and home, he told his children Jem and Scout to hold their heads high as rougher days would be ahead; thus, he instilled a sense of courage in his children. We can see courage in the children from the time they were young in this book as well. Jem, Scout, and summer friend Dill had courage to go to the Radley house trying to get Boo to come out even though all the other kids said the house is spooked. Then Scout had courage at school to stick up for her classmates and to hold her head high as the same classmates taunted her due to her father's involvement in the court case. I would also maintain that she had courage to dress like a tomboy when the town mores dictated that she behave like a lady. Additionally we see courage in Tom Robinson, the defendant, who most likely subconsciously realizes he can not win his case due to the color of his skin. We see courage from Mr Dolphus Raymond who lives with negroes even though he is white. We see courage from Mrs DuBose in fighting her illness, and even from lesser characters such as Reverend Sykes for allowing white children to sit in the colored balcony and Aunt Alexandra for supporting her brother even though the rest of the extended Finch family appears prejudiced against blacks. And of course we see courage from Boo Radley himself later on. I believe that the courage exhibited by all these characters has made the town of Maycomb, Alabama stand the test of time and remain the timeless classic that it is. Most people can relate to those who have the courage to stand up for what they think is right or to fight against those tougher than them. This character trait has endeared Scout, Jem, Atticus and company to millions. I probably would not have read To Kill a Mockingbird had it not been a choice in a goodreads book group I am in. I am glad I chose to participate so I can finally read the classic with adult eyes and see what has made this book beloved to millions of Americans for years past and hopefully years to come as well.
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  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    October 19, 2016
    Beautiful book.
  • Lit Bug
    October 31, 2012
    In the course of 5 years, I’ve read this book nearly 17 times. That adds up to reading it once at least every 4 months, on an average. And I still return to this book like a bark seeking a lighthouse in the dark. When I first finished it, I was so overwhelmed by how much I related to it, I read it nearly 8 times before the year ended. By now I’ve memorized almost every scene and I still can’t shake off the feeling that I still have to learn a lot from it. Over the years, I realize that without k In the course of 5 years, I’ve read this book nearly 17 times. That adds up to reading it once at least every 4 months, on an average. And I still return to this book like a bark seeking a lighthouse in the dark. When I first finished it, I was so overwhelmed by how much I related to it, I read it nearly 8 times before the year ended. By now I’ve memorized almost every scene and I still can’t shake off the feeling that I still have to learn a lot from it. Over the years, I realize that without knowing it, it has become my personal Bible – a beacon to keep me from straying from the path of kindness and compassion, no matter what.With its baseless cruelty and what Coleridge poetically referred to as motiveless malignity, the world is in need of much motiveless kindness – a rugged determination to keep the world a quiet haven and not the callous, cruel place it constantly aspires to be.To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those rare books that doesn’t give in to the belief that ”deep down, everybody’s actually good.” Not everybody is. And we must still persevere to see things from their perspective, and though we may not justify their ways, we must strive to understand them – though we might not follow them, we must try to be as kind to them as possible. And yet, there comes a time when some people need to be put down – we must follow the call of our conscience then, and yet be kind to them in the process, as much as we can.Striving to follow this dictum, I have realized how difficult it is to be kind to others when I find I’m right. It is so easy to put down others bluntly, it is so easy to be critical and fair, but so difficult to consider for a moment what the other might be going through. How convenient it is to dismiss the hardships of others and say, “They had it coming!” and unburden our conscience of the probable guilt that perhaps we’ve been a bit too harsh.How simple it is to stereotype people, classify them neatly into convenient square boxes and systematically deal with them based on those black-or-white prejudices! Robe a prejudice in the opaque, oppressive garment called Common Sense and display boldly the seal of Social Approval and you’ve solved the biggest difficulty of life – knowing how to treat people.And yet, nothing could be farther than the truth. Rarely are people so simple as they seem. In Wilde’s words, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” For you never know when a grumpy, rude, racist Mrs. Dubose might be fighting her own monsters or Ewell be, in fact trying to protect the last vestiges of honor he has, or Aunt Alexandra only trying to advocate the least painful way of life. And though we might not agree with any of them, like Atticus, we must see them for their peculiar situations and grant them a little leeway, make a little corner for them too, and yet, stand up for what is right in defiance of them.It is this tricky rope-walking balance between prejudice and common sense, kindness and firmness, and justice and leeway that spurs me to revisit this little book every time I seem to falter. While I find it difficult to keep my cool in the midst of flagrant injustices and ensuing pain, I strive to strike a balance between giving in to despair and becoming too optimistic; between becoming indifferent, unkind, righteous and being compassionate, considerate. It is what keeps me from becoming paranoid or cynical with the unceasing drone of passivity, callousness, overwhelming prejudice and unyielding customs while still being alive to the pain of those very people I do not necessarily agree with.In a country like India with its bizarre, incomprehensible equations and sequestrations of religion, class, caste, region, language, race, gender, sexuality and education, it takes a whole load of effort not to blow up one’s mind – people will kill each other over anything and everything. They’ll hate each other, isolate each other and cook up stories amongst themselves and leave it floating in the air. It takes every ounce of my energy not to hate my land and its majority people viciously. Yes, viciously.But you see, I’ve got so much to learn to survive here – I have to stand up for myself when there will be hordes banging upon my door telling me to shut the hell up. And I’ll have to muster all the courage I have to tell them to go f*** themselves if they think I musn’t transcend the limits set for me. But I also have to learn not to hate them. Even if it sounds silly.I know for one, Lee – I don’t care if you never wrote another work. I don’t care if Capote helped you write it, as many say. I’m glad somebody wrote this book, and somebody assigned this book as syllabus when I needed it the most. Five years ago, I hadn’t even heard of it. I read it in a single sitting. And then I read it several times over, taking my time, pondering over every page. I still do so. It is my favorite book ever.
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  • Houston
    November 13, 2007
    “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”(p. 20)I love this book and this idea of reading being like breathing. As Scout did, I read early too, and often. Every night before bed I would read and still do. I saw a Twilight Zone Episode once where the main character loved to read and only wanted to be left alone to do so. After falling asleep in the vault of the bank where he worked, he awoke to a post-disaster world where only he was left. He busily gat “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”(p. 20)I love this book and this idea of reading being like breathing. As Scout did, I read early too, and often. Every night before bed I would read and still do. I saw a Twilight Zone Episode once where the main character loved to read and only wanted to be left alone to do so. After falling asleep in the vault of the bank where he worked, he awoke to a post-disaster world where only he was left. He busily gathered together all the books he wanted to read, all organized and stacked up. Just as he chose one to start with, his glasses fell and he stepped on them trying to find them. It was terrible and I remember feeling horrified that this man would never get to read again! Such a thought had never occurred to me. This semester I had to get glasses myself after suffering migraines from reading. I was so nervous at the eye doctor because the thought of not being able to read was too much for me. Of course, I only needed readers, but when I ran across this quote, I thought about how much like breathing reading is for me. “Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” (p. 87)Never say die! Fight the good fight no matter what! I love the anti-defeatist message in this quote. Even though Atticus knows the deck is stacked against him, he tries anyway. He understands that sometimes you have to fight the un-winnable fight just for the chance that you might win. It makes me think that what he’s trying to teach his children is never to give up just because things look dim. “...before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” (p. 120)As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” That’s really all that matters. At the end of the day, when you lay down, you have to know that you did the right things, acted the right way and stayed true to yourself. Again, Atticus understands that the town is talking; he has to explain to his kids why he continues against the tide of popular thought. He sums it up so well here.“We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.”(p. 320) I love the sad way this quote sounds. It is clearly the thoughts of a child, for hadn’t Scout just given Boo his dignity as they were walking home? Hadn’t she and Jem given him children to care for and watch over? But she knows too, even from her child’s perspective, that they could never give him anything close to what he had given them—their lives. It just sounds so beautifully sad.Works Cited Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.
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  • Denise
    December 5, 2007
    I looked up Harper Lee online this is her only published book. However, she did write a few articles that one can find and read online:Love in other Words - VogueChristmas to me - McCallsWhen Children Discover AmericaRomance and High AdventureHer full name is Nellie Harper Lee - I bet she dropped the Nellie part so publishers would mistakenly think she was a man and read her material. She is also still alive and living in Monroeville, Alabama. And once you read about her and her family, you will I looked up Harper Lee online this is her only published book. However, she did write a few articles that one can find and read online:Love in other Words - VogueChristmas to me - McCallsWhen Children Discover AmericaRomance and High AdventureHer full name is Nellie Harper Lee - I bet she dropped the Nellie part so publishers would mistakenly think she was a man and read her material. She is also still alive and living in Monroeville, Alabama. And once you read about her and her family, you will know that she is not the only amazing person in that family (guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree).I was able to tell in the beginning that the book started in the 30's once Dill mentioned that he saw Dracula in the theaters. Dracula was in theaters in 1931-32 (don't ask how I know that), and they mentioned that they were in the Depression which started in 1929 (1927-28 for the farmers) and went on through out the 30's. Since they were openly drinking, Prohibition must have ended (1933). And, towards the end of the book, they were mentioning Hitler and what he was doing in Germany which took place in the late 30's. My history teachers would be so impressed that I retained all of that information. Too bad my head is so full of that information, I have to look up my own phone number.I loved Scout. In fact, I get dibs on that name for a little girl- or did Bruce Willis and Demi Moore beat me to it? I loved that she wanted to be a person first and then a girl. And she supports the fact that little kids know the meaning of life and forget it as they get older. She had a great relationship with her brother and father and they encouraged her to be true to herself and not follow the stereotypes of ladies of that time. I loved her way of thinking especially how she drew the conclusion that if she starting swearing her dad would assume she picked up the bad habits from school and pull her out. And when she wanted to write a letter to Dill in invisible ink just to drive him crazy, I almost ruined the book because I was drinking a Diet Pepsi at the time.I have a feeling that Harper Lee was just like Scout and have you noticed that all early 1900 female authors are tomboys? Louisa Mae Alcott was Jo in Little Women, Laura Wilder wrote about herself. It just goes to show you that the truly creative women were those that went against the stereotypes of the time.I'm not sure I like the fact that Atticus allowed them to call him by his first name and not Dad, but aside from that he was the perfect role model. He talked to them, not at them, and he always listened. He firmly believed that it was important for his children to respect him and by NOT following the creed "Do as I say, not as I do", Scout and Jem would be able to look up to him. He wanted his children to look beyond the color of one's skin, therefore he did. He treated everyone as equal despite their race, family background, age or education and if more people did that, there wouldn't be as many problems today. His teaching methods worked. You can tell how much the children loved and looked up to him. Nothing hurt them more then having their father be ashamed of them. They didn't keep things from him because they thought he wouldn't understand. They kept things from him because they didn't want him to get hurt. And they always listened, because to disobey would hurt Atticus.Atticus's brother was another one of my favorite characters even though he wasn't mentioned a lot. When he realized his error after punishing Scout for beating up her cousin and tried to make it right, it showed that he also strived to earn their respect just like Atticus. Nothing irates me more then when someone tells me I have to respect them because they are older than me. Whatever. Does that mean I have to respect Bob Ewall because he is older?It's easy to see with all of the problems in the world why Boo Radley feels safer hiding from away from it. It takes a special person to admit defeat to the cliché "if you can't beat them join them" and turn his back on things he doesn't understand. I think everyone has a little bit of Boo in us, when we shut out the problems of the outside. Of course, we all have a little of Scout in us to especially when I come out fighting if anyone tries to hurt my family.The court case. Wow, the sad thing is, is I can see that happening even today (i.e. the Rodney King trial). When I moved here the first time, just before the LA riots, there was a huge ordeal about a Korean, store-owner who shot and killed a 17-19 black, teenager girl, she claimed was stealing and attacking her. The security camera shows the tiff and it shows the teen putting down the item and walking towards the exit. The store owner shot her in the back and was found not-guilty, by reason of self-defense. When the book was published in 1960, discrimination was still a big problem. I did like how Harper Lee brought up Hitler's actions against the Jews. It was obvious that what was going on in America with African Americans was no different in her eyes than what Hitler was doing. I agree, we were just more discreet about it. Perhaps because deep inside, Americans knew it was wrong to treat African Americans as third class citizens so we tried to hide it more. Hitler was right out in the open with his actions.I listed a few links that I discovered about To Kill A Mocking Bird:http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Belmont_HS... The Student Survivor Guide. - This is amazing it has definitions of the harder words and references to the "Allusions and Idioms" that are used.http://mockingbird.chebucto.org/ - This talks more about the author and her family.
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  • Clau R.
    December 25, 2014
    So... I don't really know what to say.I think I loved this book, but for a reason beyond my understanding, it never hooked me, and it took me AGES to finish it! Some chapters (especially at the beginning) were tedious and hard for me to get through them... but then there were some chapters that I devoured (the whole Tom Robinson trial and the last ones).I definitely learned a lesson or two from this book. Atticus is my new role model, he is really incredible. I also love Scout and Jem, those kid So... I don't really know what to say.I think I loved this book, but for a reason beyond my understanding, it never hooked me, and it took me AGES to finish it! Some chapters (especially at the beginning) were tedious and hard for me to get through them... but then there were some chapters that I devoured (the whole Tom Robinson trial and the last ones).I definitely learned a lesson or two from this book. Atticus is my new role model, he is really incredible. I also love Scout and Jem, those kids will be in my heart forever. Oh! And I loved the Boo Radley storyline, it left me in awe.This book surely deserves 5 solid stars, and I kinda feel bad for giving it 4 stars, but the thing is... I was struggling to finish it, I swear I let out a relieved sigh when I read the last sentence.But all in all, it was a great read <3. And can't tell you how much I loved the last chapters, (view spoiler)[the part were Scout stands in Boo Radley's house and realizes the way he sees everything almost made me cry (hide spoiler)].
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  • Maureen
    July 9, 2012
    Rereading this book as an adult made me realize how truly beautiful and wonderful it is. It will forever be one of my favorites.
  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    June 28, 2009
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Leeعنوان: کشتن مرغ مینا؛ نویسنده: هارپر لی؛ مترجم: فخرالدین میررمضانی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، توس، 1370، در 378 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، امیرکبیر، 1390، در 414 ص؛ شابک: 9789640013816؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1393، در 378 ص؛ شابک: 978600121573؛مترجم دیگر: بابک تیموریان، تهران، ناس، 1390، در 504 ص، شابک: 9789649917733؛مترجم دیگر: روشنک ضرابی، تهران، انتشارات میلکان، 1394، در 360 ص، شابک: 9786007845196؛باور کردنی نیست، تا امروز یعنی تا 28 دسامبر 2015 یا همان 8 دیماه 1395 To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Leeعنوان: کشتن مرغ مینا؛ نویسنده: هارپر لی؛ مترجم: فخرالدین میررمضانی، مشخصات نشر: تهران، توس، 1370، در 378 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، امیرکبیر، 1390، در 414 ص؛ شابک: 9789640013816؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1393، در 378 ص؛ شابک: 978600121573؛مترجم دیگر: بابک تیموریان، تهران، ناس، 1390، در 504 ص، شابک: 9789649917733؛مترجم دیگر: روشنک ضرابی، تهران، انتشارات میلکان، 1394، در 360 ص، شابک: 9786007845196؛باور کردنی نیست، تا امروز یعنی تا 28 دسامبر 2015 یا همان 8 دیماه 1395 خورشیدی، تنها در گودریدز 3,128,155 نفر همین کتاب را ستاره باران کرده اند؛ نمیدانم چرا در برگردان عنوان کتاب، به جای بلبل، مرغ مینا را برگزیده اند، شاید مرغ مقلد هم بهتر باشد، چون همین پرنده صدای پرندگان دیگر را نیز تقلید میکند. چکیده: اسکات و جیم خواهر برادر کوچکی هستند که مادرشان سالها پیش درگذشته، آن دو با پدرشان «اتیکاش» در شهر کوچکی زندگی میکنند. پدر وکیل شهر است و برای انسانیت و باورهای مردمان احترام میگذارد و سعی دارد تا فرزندانش را انسان بار آورد. داستان از زبان کودک و به زیبایی روایت میشود، قرار است یک سیاهپوست به نام تام به جرم تجاوز به دختری سفید محاکمه شود، در حالی که معلوم است تام آن کار را نکرده، و آتیکوس میخواهد از او دفاع کند، مردمان شهر بر علیه آتیکوس هستند، و او به عنوان یک پدر میخواهد فرزندانش در شرایط دشوار درست رفتار کنند . کتاب «کشتن مرغ مقلد» نوشته روانشاد خانم «هارپر لی» که با عنوان «کشتن مرغ مینا» منتشر شده، نخستین بار در سال 1960 میلادی به نشر سپرده شد، یکسال بعد جایزه ی پولیتزر را برد. در سال 1962 میلادی نیز، «رابرت مولیگان» فیلمی با اقتباس از متن همین کتاب ساخت، و در همان سال توانست، سه جایزه اسکار را از آن خود کند. جایزه ی بهترین بازیگر مرد برای گریگوری پک٬ بهترین کارگردان هنری، و بهترین فیلمنامه اقتباس شده. بد نیست اضافه کنم، خانم «هارپر لی» تا یک دو سال مانده به پایان عمر خویش تنها همین رمان را نوشته بودند، براساس گویه ای از ایشان، بنوشته اند: «در عصری که همه ی مردمان لپ ‌تاپ، موبایل و آی پاد دارند، اما ذهن هاشان همچون یک اتاق، خالیه؛ ترجیح میدهم وقتم را با کتابهایم سپری کنم.» پایان نقل. ایشان در سال 2007 نیز نشان آزادی از دست رئیس جمهور آمریکا دریافت کردند. نقل از متن کتاب: «حواستون باشه کشتن مرغ مقلد گناهه. این را برای نخستین بار از اتیکاس شنیدم که انجام کاری گناه داره، واسه همین هم به خانوم مودی گفتم. اون هم جواب داد: پدرت درست گفته، مرغ مقلد هیچ کار نمیکنه، فقط برای ما میخونه، تا لذت ببریم. با تمام وجودش هم برامون میخونه. واسه همین هم کشتنش گناه داره.» پایان نقل ا. شربیانی
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  • Helen Stavraki
    August 5, 2015
    Τα ***** αστέρια ως ανώτερη κλίμακα αξιολόγησης γι αυτό το βιβλίο τα δίνω αποκλειστικά και μόνο για την αφήγηση σε πρώτο πρόσωπο της πρόωρα ώριμης οκταχρονης ηρωίδας και ένα άρωμα τρυφερότητας,αθωότητας,φαντασίας και ηθικής πίστης που σου μεταδίδει η συγγραφέας απο την αρχή ως το τέλος και σε κάνει να αφοσιωθεις άνευ όρων. Δυο παιδάκια μεγαλώνουν στο Μέικομπ μια μικρή πόλη της Αλαμπάμα,γεμάτη ρατσισμό,σκληρότητα,αδικία και εμπάθεια ανάμεσα στους διαφορετικούς χαρακτηρες της. Μπαμπάς τους ειναι μ Τα ***** αστέρια ως ανώτερη κλίμακα αξιολόγησης γι αυτό το βιβλίο τα δίνω αποκλειστικά και μόνο για την αφήγηση σε πρώτο πρόσωπο της πρόωρα ώριμης οκταχρονης ηρωίδας και ένα άρωμα τρυφερότητας,αθωότητας,φαντασίας και ηθικής πίστης που σου μεταδίδει η συγγραφέας απο την αρχή ως το τέλος και σε κάνει να αφοσιωθεις άνευ όρων. Δυο παιδάκια μεγαλώνουν στο Μέικομπ μια μικρή πόλη της Αλαμπάμα,γεμάτη ρατσισμό,σκληρότητα,αδικία και εμπάθεια ανάμεσα στους διαφορετικούς χαρακτηρες της. Μπαμπάς τους ειναι μάλλον ο καλύτερος πατέρας που θα μπορούσε να σταθεί σε λογοτεχνικό έργο εποχής. Ο Άττικους ειναι χήρος, δικηγόρος στο επάγγελμα, προσπαθεί να μεγαλώσει δυο παιδιά με αξίες και ιδεώδη με ευαισθησία και συμπόνια και με απόλυτη δικαιοσύνη. Ειναι ένας μπαμπάς γλυκός και αυστηρός με απόλυτη ελευθερία και μέτρο διδάσκει στα παιδιά του να αγαπούν και να σέβονται όλους τους ανθρώπους ανεξαιρέτως χρώματος ή κοινωνικής θέσης. ‘’Σκοτώστε όσες κίσσες θέλετε, αν μπορείτε να τις πετύχετε, αλλά να θυμάστε, είναι αμαρτία να σκοτώνεις τα κοτσύφια’’. Αυτή ειναι η συμβολική συμβουλή του προς τα παιδιά του. Αυτός ο μπαμπάς λοιπόν αναλαμβάνει να υπερασπιστεί στο δικαστήριο - παρά τις άσχημες αντιδράσεις της κοινωνίας- έναν νεγρο εργάτη που κατηγορείται πως βίασε μια λευκή περιθωριακή κοπέλα. Παρα τις μεγάλες εντάσεις και ολες τις αποδείξεις αθωότητας του κατηγορουμένου,το δικαστήριο τον καταδικάζει και στην προσπάθεια του να δραπετεύσει σκοτώνεται. Παει το πρώτο κοτσυφακι.....Το δεύτερο κοτσυφακι ....της ιστορίας μας ειναι ο Μπού ένας ερημίτης γείτονας που ζει κλεισμένος στην μοναχικότητα του χρονια ολόκληρα και παίρνει τρομακτικές διαστάσεις η παρουσία του στα μάτια των μικρών μας ηρώων. Ο ήσυχος και αθώος Μπού δέχεται το φόβο της κοινότητας όμως στο τέλος η πράξη του ειναι η σπουδαιότερη και η πιο σωτήρια. Μια τρυφερή μάτια στον σκληρό κόσμο που μας θυμίζει πως η αλλαγή προς το καλό ξεκινάει απο τα φρέσκα μυαλά και τα αθώα μάτια των παιδιών. «Δε θα καταλάβεις πραγματικά έναν άνθρωπο μέχρι να σκεφτείς τα πράγματα από τη δική του οπτική γωνία – μέχρι να βάλεις τα παπούτσια του και να περπατήσεις με αυτά» Καλή ανάγνωση!!
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  • Nataliya
    May 2, 2010
    Life gives you a few things that you can count on. Death (for all), taxes (for most), and the unwavering moral character of Atticus Finch (for me). "What would Atticus do?" is not just a meme; for eleven-year-old me it became a real consideration after I feigned an illness to cut school and stay home to finish To Kill a Mockingbird - while a decidedly non-Atticus-like move, choosing Harper Lee's book over sixth grade math was probably a wiser life choice.For my thoughts on the shameless money gr Life gives you a few things that you can count on. Death (for all), taxes (for most), and the unwavering moral character of Atticus Finch (for me). "What would Atticus do?" is not just a meme; for eleven-year-old me it became a real consideration after I feigned an illness to cut school and stay home to finish To Kill a Mockingbird - while a decidedly non-Atticus-like move, choosing Harper Lee's book over sixth grade math was probably a wiser life choice.For my thoughts on the shameless money grab by the money-greedy publishers recently published first draft of the novel inexplicably (or read: cash grab) marketed as a sequel... Well, I think I just said it all.I cannot be objective about this book - I don't think you can ever be about the things you love. I've read it many times as a child and a few times as an adult, and it never lost that special something that captivated me as a kid of Jem Finch's age. “[...] Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” To me, this book is as close to perfect as one can get.It found a place in school curriculum because of its message, undoubtedly - but it's not what makes it so powerful. After all, if you have even a speck of brains you will understand that racism is wrong and you should treat people right and that “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.” No, what makes it wonderful is the perfect narrative voice combining adult perspective while maintaining a child's voice, through which we glimpse both the grown-up woman looking back through the lessons of years while still seeing the unmistakable innocence and incorruptible feistiness of young Scout Finch. And then there is the magic of the slow measured narration painting the most vivid picture of the sleepy Southern town where there's enough darkness lurking inside the people's souls to be picked up even by very young, albeit quite perceptive children. "If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time. It's because he wants to stay inside.” And then there's Atticus Finch. Yes, there may be countless articles all fueled by Lee's first draft about his 'transformation' into a bigot - but I refuse to jump on that bandwagon. I stand behind him the way Lee developed him in the book she *did* publish. Because I sleep better knowing that there are people out there who are good and principled and kind and compassionate, who will do everything they can with the utmost patience to teach their children to be decent human beings. “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what." What shines in this book the most for me is the amazing relationship between parent and child. It's the amazing guidance that the Finch children get in becoming good human beings that many of us would give up a lot for. I know I would. Because to me it will never be a story of a white man saving the world (and some, especially with the publication of that ridiculous first draft, would dismiss it as such). To me, it's the story of a child growing up and learning to see the world with the best possible guidance. It's a story of learning to understand and respect kindness and forgiveness and that sometimes you do right things not just because you're told to but because they are right things to do.I see enough stupidity and nonsense and injustice in this world. And after all of it, what I often do need is Atticus Finch and reassurance that things can be right, and that with the few exceptions, even if I struggle to see it, "[...] there's just one kind of folks. Folks." and that, disillusioned as we become as we go on in life, "Most people are [nice], Scout, when you finally see them.”Five stars from both child and adult me.
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  • Lou
    May 9, 2010
    A wonderful piece of literature, great characters, plot and prose. There is sadness and happiness, racism and equality, immaturity and maturity, injustice and redemption. Atticus is a man we could all love and look up to a grounded just and fair man he sees beyond race and finds the goodness in people. His cook Calpurnia Is honest good black lady who you just gotta love in this story, she works for a nice family who are about to go through some obstacles and testing times.A lot of the story is t A wonderful piece of literature, great characters, plot and prose. There is sadness and happiness, racism and equality, immaturity and maturity, injustice and redemption. Atticus is a man we could all love and look up to a grounded just and fair man he sees beyond race and finds the goodness in people. His cook Calpurnia Is honest good black lady who you just gotta love in this story, she works for a nice family who are about to go through some obstacles and testing times.A lot of the story is told through a young girl and is enjoyable to see things from a young perspective for example this excerpt..."There was a man Dill had heard of who had a boat that he rowed across to a foggy island where all these babies were; you could order one— “That’s a lie. Aunty said God drops ‘em down the chimney. At least that’s what I think she said.” For once, Aunty’s diction had not been too clear. "You know the truth, and the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men." “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” Some trivia about the book and movie...Finch was writer Harper Lee's mother's maiden name.Despite the novel winning the Pulitzer Prize, the studios were not interested in buying up the film rights as they deemed it lacking in action, there was no love story and the villain doesn't get a big comeuppance. Producer Alan J. Pakula disagreed however and persuaded director Robert Mulligan that it would make a good film. Together they were able to convince Gregory Peck who readily agreed.Truman Capote, who grew up with Harper Lee, also knew the inspiration for "Boo" Radley, and had planned to base a character on him in one of his short stories. After seeing how well the character was realized in Lee's novel, however, he decided against it.Some images..Harper Lee on the right.http://more2read.com/?review=to-kill-a-mockingbird-by-harper-lee
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  • Petra Eggs
    June 13, 2008
    Even in the evil times when John Crow ruled the South and the Blacks were scarcely more free than in times of slavery and were allowed no civic power nor respect from their erswhile masters who were White, good men did their best.As regards this book, the last phrase is a lie.Atticus, a lawyer and good and caring father, a moral man, represented a Black man accused of raping a White woman. He lost, but he'd done his best.That last paragraph is a lie. Atticus belonged to the KKK, thought that Bla Even in the evil times when John Crow ruled the South and the Blacks were scarcely more free than in times of slavery and were allowed no civic power nor respect from their erswhile masters who were White, good men did their best.As regards this book, the last phrase is a lie.Atticus, a lawyer and good and caring father, a moral man, represented a Black man accused of raping a White woman. He lost, but he'd done his best.That last paragraph is a lie. Atticus belonged to the KKK, thought that Blacks were a distinctly lower form of human life and that separate development (ie. apartheid) was the best way to go for these childlike people who didn't have the reasoning power to rule, he said in Go Set a Watchman.That last paragraph is mostly a lie. Atticus did belong to the KKK but he did not really think Blacks were a lower form of human life at all. That was just what he said for the benefit of others. He really thought their intellectual power and ability to organise was greatly to be feared. He was frightened that Whites would have to give up having a life of ease and wealth structured around the cheap labour Black people had no alternative but to provide. He didn't even want to have to consider them at all.Atticus represented the accused Black rapist only because if a White lawyer didn't then he was sure the NAACP would send in a very clever Black lawyer and not only that but insist, since these times were officially 'free', that Black people sit on the jury. Then he would not be sure of a conviction. The Blacks then feeling their oats would move in to the town and start demanding rights and power much to the detriment of the extremely exploitative and racist Whites.When Harper Lee wrote all this, in Go Set a Watchman her publishers were apparently horrified and got her to rewrite the book from the point of view of a decent man who felt racism was a great evil, we were all equal. Is this why Harper Lee never wrote another book? Did she feel that her views were unacceptable and she wasn't going to kow-tow to some liberal publishers up North who didn't understand the ways of the South? Is that why she didn't give interviews too? She'd followed the advice of her publishers, been lauded and rewarded but humiliated as an artist. Schools still teaching this book as a moral lesson should incorporate their understanding of the first draft, Go Set a Watchman. Otherwise they are doing the children a disservice in their moral education and furthering the ideas of paternalism is better than self-determination, racism had its softer side and that ignoring the truth (Watchman) to tell a good story is a perfectly fine concept for educationalists to embrace. It's not. Five stars because it is a very well-written and enjoyable book and hangs together with Go Set a Watchman perfectly.Read years ago, probably about 1 Jan 2000
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  • Ana
    October 25, 2012
    Best book ever written? Best book ever written.
  • ConstantReader Paul O'Neill
    March 24, 2017
    What can I say about this amazing book that hasn’t already been said? I think The Guardian said it best– 'To Kill a Mockingbird will never stop being a good book, and it will never stop inspiring good people'The story is told from the point of view of Scout (Jean-Louise Finch), a six year old girl, through various events that happen in the town of Maycomb and in particular, the court case of Tom Robinson as her father Atticus Finch acts as Tom’s defence lawyer. Tom, a black man who has been accu What can I say about this amazing book that hasn’t already been said? I think The Guardian said it best– 'To Kill a Mockingbird will never stop being a good book, and it will never stop inspiring good people'The story is told from the point of view of Scout (Jean-Louise Finch), a six year old girl, through various events that happen in the town of Maycomb and in particular, the court case of Tom Robinson as her father Atticus Finch acts as Tom’s defence lawyer. Tom, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, has to endure multiple racial attacks. Atticus, widely described as the “most enduring fictional image of racial heroism”, describes the events to Scout so that she sees that all people should be treated equally. ThemesThe book mainly deals with the themes of racial equality and rape but there are themes of morality, class and gender also. To Kill a Mockingbird had been deemed so important that in 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one "every adult should read before they die".Above pointing the finger at racial and class issues, it’s a gripping story with great characters. What impacted me most when reading this was just how applicable all of the issues still are today, even though the book was published 57 years ago. We have indeed made good progress, but we still have a long way to go in my view. CharactersScout is such an awesome character, probably one of my favourites. Having the story told through Scout’s innocent point of view was a perfect choice, it creates a very unique atmosphere. Atticus is nothing short of a hero. Not in today’s comic book / action-hero standard, but as a moral pillar of the family who is setting a great example for his family to follow. He sticks up for what he believes in. This probably sums him up perfectly - "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived."WritingThe writing was a joy to read. You really get to know and care for the characters. This story is really subtle in places and it’s not a fast-paced thrill ride. Had Lee’s writing been sub-par it could have become boring very quickly. Instead, Lee draws you in through her fantastic writing, which is both charming and astonishing in places. "They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.""I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.""So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses.... That proves something - that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children.""I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.””Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."If we followed our feelings all the time, we’d be like cats chasing their tails.Final thoughtI wholeheartedly agree that this is one of the most important books ever written, beautifully created. Don’t be put off by all the themes and the millions of critical, in-depth analysis’s. Underneath all of that, it’s simply a great read. Highly recommended, and the audiobook version with Sissy Spacek is wonderful. I’ll leave you with yet another quote from The Guardian “Let it not be forgotten that a true piece of literature, like To Kill a Mockingbird, is meaningful in every period and that today, Atticus Finch's message should be heard in the midst of all the global conflicts that we hear of on the news every night.”Check out all my book blogs at http://constantreaderpauloneill.blogspot.co.uk/
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  • Mona
    July 25, 2007
    I read this book a long time ago, when I was ten years old. I remembered nothing from it except thinking it was really, really good. And here I am, thirteen years later. I picked it up again because I was curious about what my reaction would be to it now.The book follows three years in the life of Scout Finch, her brother Jem, their father Atticus, and their fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the era of the Great Depression. The first half of the novel focuses mainly on Scout and Jem's child I read this book a long time ago, when I was ten years old. I remembered nothing from it except thinking it was really, really good. And here I am, thirteen years later. I picked it up again because I was curious about what my reaction would be to it now.The book follows three years in the life of Scout Finch, her brother Jem, their father Atticus, and their fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the era of the Great Depression. The first half of the novel focuses mainly on Scout and Jem's childhood - their friend Dill, their fixation on their neighbor "Boo" Radley, and their experiences at school. The second part of the book is marked both by the ongoing trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman, whom Atticus has been called to defend, and the repercussions this trial has on the children's eventual coming of age.I loved this book. Both parts of the book are very well-done, and although each seems to be separate at first, Lee does a great job of weaving in themes from the first into the second. The children have very child-like perspectives. They do not seem adult beyond their years. Every character - particularly each of the Finches - is distinctive. I liked how Atticus shows depth. He is not heroic simply because of who he is defending as an attorney but his entire outlook on the case and its significance to his family and career. This book seems so simple, but it's about several things at once - racism, injustice, social status, innocence, accusation, and experience. I feel like I had a million things I wanted to say about this book, but I can't remember half of what they were, mostly because the copy I had was from the library and I had to return it. Let me just say this: wow. And also, this is going to the top of my very short "must-buy" list. I may even buy two copies - one to highlight in, and one just to keep.
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  • Wendy Darling
    September 16, 2009
    Our June classics book! Discussion on the blog Friday 6/26, in preparation for the sequel releasing in July. My re-read is on audio, with Sissy Spacek as narrator.
  • Rishi
    August 5, 2007
    A friend of mine once commented that To Kill a Mockingbird was the most racist book he'd ever read.I agree with him. Now, I know this book is drawn from the author's true experiences, but she choose to write a novel and thus I will judge it as a novel. With it's irrevocable integration into the American (and Canadian) public school curricula, I think this novel has probably done more to perpetuate racial stereotypes than any other single force. If I had to sum up To Kill a Mockingbird in one sen A friend of mine once commented that To Kill a Mockingbird was the most racist book he'd ever read.I agree with him. Now, I know this book is drawn from the author's true experiences, but she choose to write a novel and thus I will judge it as a novel. With it's irrevocable integration into the American (and Canadian) public school curricula, I think this novel has probably done more to perpetuate racial stereotypes than any other single force. If I had to sum up To Kill a Mockingbird in one sentence, this would be it: the poor helpless black man is lost until a saintly white man comes to his side to crusade for his cause. Unfortunately, the damn darkie is so stupid that he goes and gets himself killed just when the white man figured he had another shot at clearing him. Oh well, the white man tried his best, and for a negro too! What a hero.What the hell is that?
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  • s.penkevich
    September 24, 2011
    ‘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.’Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an undisputed classic that few will avoid having read in their lifetime, and those few are to be pitied. As I habe presentation of the novel coming up this weekend, a discussion group that I am lucky enough to be allowed to lead as part of the The Big Read here in Holland, Michigan, I felt it necessary to revisit ‘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.’Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird is an undisputed classic that few will avoid having read in their lifetime, and those few are to be pitied. As I habe presentation of the novel coming up this weekend, a discussion group that I am lucky enough to be allowed to lead as part of the The Big Read here in Holland, Michigan, I felt it necessary to revisit this timeless classic (and I figured I’d review it to help collect my thoughts on the subject). The experience was like returning to a childhood home and finding it warm and welcoming and undisturbed from the passage of time, like walking the streets of my old neighborhood and hearing the calls of friends as they rode out with their bikes to greet me, of knowing the mailman by name and knowing where all the best places for hide-and-seek were, the best trees to climb, and feeling safe and secure in a place that is forever a part of yourself. Though some of the mechanics of the novel seemed less astonishing than my first visit more than a decade ago, the power and glory was still there, and I found a renewed love and respect for characters like Atticus, whom I’ve always kept close to heart when wrestling with my own position as a father. Harper Lee created a wonderful work that incorporated a wide range of potent themes, wrapping class systems, gender roles, Southern manners and taboos, and an important moral message of kindness, love and conviction all within a whimsical bildungsroman that no reader who has been graced by its pages will ever forget.‘The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.’Before dipping into the novel itself, I’d like to take a moment to speak about Atticus Finch, one of my favorite characters in all of Literature. Atticus is a pillar of morality, a man of honor, integrity, and most importantly, conviction. He is humble and honest, even admitting to his children that yes, indeed they are poor. In a novel about society, with its tumultuous mess of morals and class, Atticus is like an authorial deus ex machina, being Lee’s method of inserting moralizing and an example of what constitutes a ‘good man’ into the book through character and not authorial asides. I’ve always idolized Atticus and tried to think ‘what would Atticus do?’ when it come to being a father and undertaking difficult moral conundrums (I even named my second cat Catticus Finch). Atticus takes the unpopular position of defending a black man in a rape case when assigned to him despite the town nearly ostracizing him. Atticus does his duty, and does it well, as a man of conviction that believes in doing what is right and honorable regardless of the consequences, living up to his statement that ‘Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what’. In fact, Lee originally intended to name the novel Atticus before deciding it would stifle the broad perspective of Macomb by drawing too much attention to one character. Atticus remains steadfast throughout the novel, sure of himself and fully developed, whereas those around him undergo more a sense of change and development. This is a novel about personal growth and a broader understanding of those around you, and Atticus is the anchor to integrity and morality keeping his children centered in the violent storm of emotions and violence that befalls Macomb.‘When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.’There is a childlike innocence spun through a novel of such weight and seriousness, executed brilliantly by Lee’s choice of Scout as the narrator. We are forever seeing a larger world through the eyes of a young girl still trying to find her place in it while making sense of all the hustle and bustle around her, and this creates an incredible ironic effect where there are large events going on that the reader understands but are delivered nearly through defamiliarization because the narrator cannot fully grasp them¹. The narration allows Lee to balance the coming-of-age hallmarks with the weightier themes, allowing the reader to maintain an innocence from the rape and racism while still able to make sense of the society functioning at large, and retreating from the darker themes into the fun of the children’s comings and goings. What is most impressive is how everything blends together, and the lessons learned in each aspect of their life are applied to all the other elements they come in contact with. The fates of Tom and Boo Radley are emotionally and morally linked in the readers mind, heart and soul.All the standard bildungsroman motifs that make people love the genre are present in To Kill a Mockingbird, from schoolyard quarrels, to learning your place in society. We see Scout, Jem, and even Dill, gain a greater understanding of the world and their place in it, watch the children come to respect their father for more than just being a good father, see them make dares, terrorize the neighbors in good fun, and even stop a mob before it turns violent. With Scout, particularly, there is an element of gender identity at play that leads into a larger discussion about class and society. Children learn from those around them, and Scout spends much of the novel assessing those around her, perhaps subconsciously looking for a role model for herself. The ideas of what a good southern woman is and should be are imposed upon her throughout the town, such as Ms Dubose who criticizes her manner of dress, or Aunt Alexandra and her attempts to eradicate Scout’s tomboyish behavior, and she learns to dislike Miss Stephanie and her gossipy behavior. Miss Maudie, however, curbs gossip and insults, and puts on the face of a southern lady, but still gets down into the dirt in the garden and behaves in other, more boyish, ways that Scout identifies with. The gender identification becomes a cog in the gear of Southern tradition in manners and class. While the court case is unquestionably controversial due to the racial implications, it is also because it forces people to discuss rape and involves questioning the Word of a woman. It forces up a lot of taboo that the community is uncomfortable in being forced to deal with it, and many inevitably turn a squeamish blind eye when forced to confront the ugly truths at hand. Macomb is a society where everything and everyone has their place, a set identification, and they do not like it being disturbed. Most important to note is the correlation that the characters who are most inclined to uphold societal traditions through self-righteous brow-beatings often exhibit the most rampant racism throughout the novel.‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’There are many ‘mockingbird’ characters in this novel, such as Tom and Boo, but the real mockingbird is, to me at least, the innocence that is lost. The town is forced to see each other for who they really are, to question their beliefs, to grow up with all the racism and bigotry going on around them. Atticus teaches Scout that we cannot know someone until ‘you consider things from his point of view’, and through the novel we see many misjudgements of character based on misunderstanding or characters refusing to see beyond their closed opinions, or even something as simple as Scout and Jem believing the rumors of Boo Radley as a bloodthirsty maniac. ‘People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.’ This applies to many obdurate aspects of society, such as Miss Maudie stating ‘sometimes the Bible in hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of-oh, your father,’ emphasizing the ways that a closed mind is just as dangerous as a violent hand and that even religion can be misused. There is a message of love, of looking into the hearts of others and not just judging them, a message of compassion and open-mindedness working through To Kill a Mockingbird, and it is a message that we all must be reminded of from time to time.There are a few issues that arose on a re-reading of the novel, having grown myself as a reader since I first encountered this lovely book. While the moral lessons are important and timeless, there is a sense of heavy-handedness to their delivery. Particularly at the end when Sheriff Tate points out the dangers of making a hero of Boo Radley. taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight—to me, that’s a sin. It’s a sin and I’m not about to have it on my head. This statement is quickly followed by Scout mentioning to Atticus that ‘Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?’. It seems a bit unnecessary to reiterate the point, especially when Tate’s double use of sin was enough to draw a parallel to the message earlier in the novel that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird. This, I admit, is overly nitpicky but brings up a conversation about teaching this novel in schools. This book is, ideally, read at a time of the readers own coming-of-age and the connections they are sure to draw with the characters reinforce the love for the novel. It is also a time in life when you are just beginning to understand the greater worlds of literature, and overtly pointing out themes is more necessary for readers when they haven’t yet learned how to look for them properly. It is books such as this that teach us about books, and usher us into a world of reading between the lines that we hadn’t known was there before. Another quiet complaint I have with the novel that, despite the themes of racism, Calpurnia seems to be a bit of an Uncle Tom character. However, who wouldn’t want to be in service for as great of a man as Atticus, so this too can be overlooked.To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel surely deserving of it’s classic status. Though it is not without its flaws, there is a timeless message of love that permeates through the novel. It is also of great importance as a book that young readers can use as a ladder towards higher literature than they had been previously exposed to. Lee has such a fluid prose that makes for excellent storytelling, especially through the coming-of-age narrative of Scout, and has a knack for creating exquisite characters that have left their immortal mark in the halls of Literature as well as the hearts of her readers.4.5/5‘...when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things...Atticus, he was real nice.Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’¹This style is reminiscent of William Faulkner, such as the court scene in Barn Burning from the detached perspective of a child. In fact, much of this novel feels indebted to Faulkner and the works of Southern Gothic authors before her, and the Tom incident and case feels familiar to those familiar with Faulkner’s Dry September or Intruder in the Dust. The way the most self-righteous and self-professed 'holy' also tend to be the basest of character morals is reminiscent of Flannery O'Connor as well. Lee’s story is fully her own, but it is always interesting to see the travels and growth of literary tradition.
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  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    March 8, 2013
    What begins as apparently just an affectionate and humorous tale of life in an Alabama town in the 1930s, and the personalities and quirks of the people who live there, gradually evolves into an amazing and powerful read, as young Scout becomes aware of her father's representation of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, and the town's general attitude about that, which spills over into their treatment of Scout and her brother. From an attorney's point of view, the trial of What begins as apparently just an affectionate and humorous tale of life in an Alabama town in the 1930s, and the personalities and quirks of the people who live there, gradually evolves into an amazing and powerful read, as young Scout becomes aware of her father's representation of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, and the town's general attitude about that, which spills over into their treatment of Scout and her brother. From an attorney's point of view, the trial of Tom was fascinating: the differences in how courts handled trials in a small town 80 years ago, the speed and informality of the trial, the African American people relegated to the balconies. I have no idea how accurate Harper Lee's description of the trial actually was to real life, but it seems extremely plausible to me. Mayella Ewell and her father were so appallingly real to me. I loved old Judge Taylor, and Atticus is a hero. Boo Radley flits like a ghost throughout the book, a vivid symbol of vulnerable innocence that's echoed in Tom's trial.I've read a lot of reviews of Go Set a Watchman, discussing the differences in Atticus' views on race and his personal prejudices between that book and this one, so I was keeping a particular eye out for anything in Mockingbird that would indicate he's prejudiced but nevertheless committed to doing his job. It's just not there, and frankly I'm glad about that. There's enough prejudice in that town that we don't really need Atticus struggling with that issue.Harper Lee explores our values and prejudices that we sometimes don't examine closely enough in ourselves, and the vital importance of courage and integrity. This book is a truly timeless classic. It made me smile but broke my heart a little bit at the same time -- like many of the best books do.Bonus material: In the comments thread below we got into a discussion about Harper Lee using the real-life Scottsboro Boys trial(s) in the early 1930's as inspiration for Tom Robinson's trial. It's a somewhat loose connection; there are some substantial differences between the facts of the cases, but some definite similarities as well. In both trials, innocent black men were accused of rape based solely on the unsubstantiated word of a white woman. In the Scottsboro trials, there were nine African-American men accused of rape while riding the rails in the company of two white woman, apparently in the prostitution business, who were trying to avoid prosecution themselves. The evidence did not support the women's claims, but juries convicted the defendants anyway. A Judge Horton tried to enforce a fair trial, but was replaced on retrial. One of the inmates later tried to escape prison and was shot by a guard, though he was not killed. All in all, the Scottboro events are vivid, awful proof that Tom Robinson's trial was realistic.See http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/w... and http://civilrightstokillamockingbird.... August 2016 reread/buddy read with Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten* and others.
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  • Lawyer
    December 9, 2009
    To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee's Novel of Integrity and Duty in the Face of Intolerance and Injustice“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.-- Atticus Finch” Harper Lee, born 1926, 86When Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 a few well known Southern authors had a few tart things to say about it. To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee's Novel of Integrity and Duty in the Face of Intolerance and Injustice“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.-- Atticus Finch” Harper Lee, born 1926, 86When Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 a few well known Southern authors had a few tart things to say about it. Carson McCullers, whose Franky was compared to Scout said Harper Lee had been "poaching on her literary preserves." Flannery O'Connor said the novel was fine, as far as it went if people realized they were reading a book for children.But Harper Lee's only known novel was an immediate phenomenon. Today it is read by more people around the world than the Bible. That's saying something.I am hesitant to attempt a review of this book. How much more can be said of it than has already been said. In all humility I can only say that I have loved this book for years. A goodreads friend asked me how many times I had read it. I replied in my Grandmother's words, "Eleventy-Seven." Loosely translated that means a lot--even more than a month of Sunday's.I will not attempt to present a plot summary. There are few who don't know the story. It's only necessary to remind each other that it still remains a sin to kill a mockingbird. Atticus said so. And Miss Maudie reminds us that all mockingbirds do is sing their hearts out for us all the day long. They do us no harm. They are the innocents among us. They are due to be protected. As long as Tom Robinsons and Boo Radleys exist in this world there will always be a niche necessarily filled by To Kill a Mockingbird. *"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em. But remember, it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.To Kill a Mockingbird is especially dear to lawyers. Atticus Finch is the epitome of integrity in a profession often maligned by the public, sometimes rightly so on the basis of notorious incidents of failure to follow the rules of professional conduct. Over the years I was actively engaged in the practice of law, I returned time after time to this perfect novel as a reminder that it was my job to do the right thing and not just go for the win. It has seen me through difficult cases more than once. Atticus defends Tom RobinsonTruthfully, I do not know the exact number of times I have read this perfect book. I know I have now passed a dozen times. Doubtless, in the years I have remaining, I will return to it again.Why does To Kill a Mockingbird continue to sell so well? Why has it never been out of print? I can only hope that there are far more Jems and Scouts aspiring to become Atticus Finch. And we will always have a need for him and those who strive to follow his philosophy. It is not easy following in the footsteps of such a man. It takes a sense of duty, sacrifice, and responsibility for the innocents of this world. It takes courage. None of those characteristics ever go out of style.“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” --Atticus Finch*Note--no copyright infringement is intended as this photograph is used for educational purposes only.November 30, 2014Tonight finds us in Augusta, Georgia, breaking our trip home to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from our Thanksgiving holiday with my wife's family. Neither of us regularly listen to audio books. However, we both enjoy them when traveling. The latest edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, released in August of this year is an exceptional treat. Sissy Spacek is the perfect Scout, capturing every phrase with perfect timing, accent, and nuance. We highly recommend you give this a listen.
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  • Fabian
    December 16, 2013
    Thus it becomes clear why this classic is a must for kids. Surely it stands on an even shelf with the Harry Potter series; it's ripe with conventions that can be cracked open in the classroom, where the love for literature begins for most American children. The emblematic character of Atticus Finch is a great figure--mysterious, righteous, progressive...completely just and good. Intelligent. As is Scout, the precocious girl who filters all the goings on in her sleepy Alabama town.It is a pity I Thus it becomes clear why this classic is a must for kids. Surely it stands on an even shelf with the Harry Potter series; it's ripe with conventions that can be cracked open in the classroom, where the love for literature begins for most American children. The emblematic character of Atticus Finch is a great figure--mysterious, righteous, progressive...completely just and good. Intelligent. As is Scout, the precocious girl who filters all the goings on in her sleepy Alabama town.It is a pity I did not read this in middle school, when foundations are forged with human values and the artistic possibilities of storytelling. That being said, I cannot but smile at finally, at 28, having plowed through this-- a complicated and personal classic. It depicts a gone-with-the-wind America, it has a strong point-of-view, which is restricted and accurate (the character is alive & becomes an avatar of the impressed young reader him/herself), it is a history lesson, a lesson in civics and law, a segue toward laws and government, and, most importantly, it includes a lovable naivete which borders on the poetic; the coming-of-age strangeness, including body changes and adolescent yearnings, all of these are staples of THE YA novel. Because it includes pretty much each and every one, it is THE QUINTESSENTIAL YA book. It has aged, however, & it is easy to see where the conventions are deposited as if "To Kill..." were a rough patchwork quilt of American Literature musts.
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  • Mateo
    June 4, 2015
    Tengo la gran suerte de vivir en el caluroso, pintoresco y quizás olvidado estado de Alabama. Suerte por un lado, porque pude empatizar de una manera muy especial con los personajes, el entorno y la trama de la novela. Pero también, porque he podido ser testigo de las heridas que han dejado los años de discriminación y segregación que ha y sigue recibiendo un grupo de personas en los Estados Unidos. Es por eso, que la novela que terminé entre el trayecto de Louisiana y Alabama, fue muy especial Tengo la gran suerte de vivir en el caluroso, pintoresco y quizás olvidado estado de Alabama. Suerte por un lado, porque pude empatizar de una manera muy especial con los personajes, el entorno y la trama de la novela. Pero también, porque he podido ser testigo de las heridas que han dejado los años de discriminación y segregación que ha y sigue recibiendo un grupo de personas en los Estados Unidos. Es por eso, que la novela que terminé entre el trayecto de Louisiana y Alabama, fue muy especial personalmente, y será una experiencia que jamás olvidaré.Ahora si, la reseña.To Kill a Mockingbird (en español, Matar un Ruiseñor), nos cuenta la historia de Jean Louise Finch (a.k.a. Scout) una niña de alrededor 7 años que vive en el ficticio pueblo de Maycomb, Alabama. La historia, también contextualizada en los años 30, en plena gran depresión, nos relata las andanzas de esta ocurrente, valiente e inocente niña, que acorde pasan las páginas, va creciendo y experimentando cosas que cambiarán su vida para siempre. “As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.”Scout, la narradora de la novela, nos lleva por esta trepidante historia que acorde avanzamos, va cambiando a tintes cada vez más oscuros. Pasando de unas ordinarias aventuras de verano, hacia un suceso que no dejará indiferente a nadie. Todo esto, mezclado con una gran cantidad de atractivos personajes, que le dan a la novela, todos los ingredientes para hacer una de mis mejores experiencias de lo que va del año. El personaje que bajo mi punto de vista tiene más protagonismo e importancia en la novela es Atticus Finch, el padre de Scout y su hermano Jem. Este atrevido, audaz y apacible abogado es, no solo la única figura a seguir que tienen sus hijos (y yo), si no que es la única persona que fue capaz de tomar las riendas de un caso que era virtualmente imposible de sacar adelante. ¿Podrá un afroamericano, en el sur de los Estados Unidos (años 30), salir libre de una falsa acusación de violación? Sin embargo, la novela escrita por Harper Lee, va mucho más allá de la resolución de las tramas principales. Ya que el verdadero sentido y objetivo que tuvo la autora norteamericana, fue la reflexión que el lector puede sacar de temas sobre la discriminación, el prejuicio, la juventud, la familia, el racismo, la honestidad, la integridad, el trabajo y muchísimas cosas más, que de una manera u otra, llamará tu atención. En conclusión, la magnífica historia de Scout, tiene todos los ingredientes para ser una novela que encante a cada persona que se adentre en ella. Con un estilo crudo pero inocente y con decepciones y alegrías en partes iguales, Lee, logrará robar y meterse en los corazones de sus lectores, y quizás hacerlos añicos o lo opuesto. Pero eso, está a elección.
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  • Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
    July 30, 2012
    I avoided reading this, wary of all the hype, seen the movie - so if you’re one of the few who hasn’t read it I promise not to harass you by proclaiming that ‘you must!’ If the mood ever strikes though I bet you’ll love it. What convinced me was when a young interracial couple I know had their 1st child and she insisted on naming him Atticus. At first her husband hated the name, that is until he read the book... Then his enthusiasm was so infectious it got to me, that and curiosity. Why does it I avoided reading this, wary of all the hype, seen the movie - so if you’re one of the few who hasn’t read it I promise not to harass you by proclaiming that ‘you must!’ If the mood ever strikes though I bet you’ll love it. What convinced me was when a young interracial couple I know had their 1st child and she insisted on naming him Atticus. At first her husband hated the name, that is until he read the book... Then his enthusiasm was so infectious it got to me, that and curiosity. Why does it continue to strikes a chord with so many? Now that I’ve joined the ranks of the besotted (5 stars – personal top 10) I understand…It’s really entertaining, a great story that hooks and pushes all the emotional buttons. The characters are memorable; Scout as the sassy little scrapper is hilarious, Atticus as a decent man trying to do the right thing unforgettable. Having heard it quoted so often I expected great dialog, what surprised me was her mastery at evoking time and place, I stepped back to childhood in a small circa 30’s Southern town.Packed with wisdom Harper’s choice in telling it through the guileless eyes of a child stop it from coming across preachy. With anti-racism at its core it’s also about being decent & respectful to ‘all folks’, be they poor, elderly or mentally ill. Mostly it’s about having the courage to stand by your convictions “It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” I loved its honesty. (view spoiler)[her choice not to pander the reader with a happy-ever-after not-guilty verdict (hide spoiler)]Despairing the state of the legal system (“first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers” a personal favorite) I was jaded enough to have had a hard time buying into Atticus. But I did, it felt good to actually like a lawyer, to believe that idealistic people can evoke change. Cons: It ended, I wanted more. Side notes: I’ve got a thing for reading debuts, this one’s the best I’ve read and I was floored that it was written by a young southern woman in the early 60’s. Wonder if Kathryn Stockett based the character Skeeter on Harper Lee when she wrote The Help…As to the movie, highly recommended but the book is a completely different animal, unfair to compare. If I could turn back time I'd read the book 1st, THEN watch the movie...
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  • Diane
    August 14, 2007
    OK, everyone needs to stop what they're doing and go find a copy of Sissy Spacek reading this book. I am not exaggerating when I say it is the best audiobook performance I have ever heard. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird perhaps 10 or 12 times in my life, and it is one of my favorite books, but this was the first time I listened to it. Sissy was the perfect narrator for Scout, and she also did a fantastic job at all of the other voices. If you like audiobooks, this is a must-listen. (And if an OK, everyone needs to stop what they're doing and go find a copy of Sissy Spacek reading this book. I am not exaggerating when I say it is the best audiobook performance I have ever heard. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird perhaps 10 or 12 times in my life, and it is one of my favorite books, but this was the first time I listened to it. Sissy was the perfect narrator for Scout, and she also did a fantastic job at all of the other voices. If you like audiobooks, this is a must-listen. (And if any publishers are reading this, please hire Sissy to narrate more Southern literature. Her voice is so soothing she could charm a cat out of a tree.)What struck me about the story this time is how sadly relevant the issue of racial prejudice and inequality still is, even though the book was first published in 1960. At the heart of the novel is the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man who is accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell. What quickly becomes apparent is that Tom is innocent, and Mayella was actually beaten by her father, Bob Ewell, when he caught her trying to kiss a negro. Atticus Finch, the hero of the novel, does his best to defend Tom, but the jury (and most of the town) convicts him anyway, and Tom is condemned to death. Atticus' two children, Jem and Scout, are deeply upset by the case, especially when Bob Ewell continues to threaten them.This book reminded me of the police shooting and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and of innumerable other stories in the news of African-Americans not being treated fairly by officers or the courts. I would like to find hope in what Atticus said when he's trying to explain the Tom Robinson case to Scout: "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."There is so much to love in this book. Scout, whose real name is Jean Louise, is a tomboy and she is our narrator. The story occurs over several years, and we watch her grow up. Harper Lee has a terrific sense of humor, and Scout's antics always make me laugh. One of Scout's best friends is a boy named Dill (a character reportedly inspired by Harper Lee's real-life friendship with Truman Capote) and at the start of the book, the kids are obsessed with a reclusive neighbor named Boo Radley. Boo is a mystery throughout the story, and when he finally appears, well, I usually have to wipe a few tears from my eyes.This novel is a gem, a true American classic. It has been a favorite of mine since I first read it in 8th-grade English, and I think it has had an impact on every generation who reads it. And based on the news, it sounds like it is still needed.Favorite Quotes“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.” “The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” “As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it — whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, he is trash.” “I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.”
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  • Darth J
    July 8, 2015
    Well, I never read this as a teen. The reason being that my middle school didn’t think it was appropriate to put in our reading curriculum, probably due to rape (view spoiler)[ and the fact that our district taught abstinence in lieu of any practical sex ed (hide spoiler)]. So with the sequel about to come out, I decided to finally read this one. I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble and get their special leather-bound edition of it, but was told that it was no longer available. I bought it on Amaz Well, I never read this as a teen. The reason being that my middle school didn’t think it was appropriate to put in our reading curriculum, probably due to rape (view spoiler)[ and the fact that our district taught abstinence in lieu of any practical sex ed (hide spoiler)]. So with the sequel about to come out, I decided to finally read this one. I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble and get their special leather-bound edition of it, but was told that it was no longer available. I bought it on Amazon instead.What we have here is part coming of age school novel, part courtroom drama, and part small town mythos. While Scout recounts her early years at school (which seem to blend together without regard for timing), it’s a learning process for all. Her earliest teacher makes bureaucratic, though well-meaning, mistakes by shaming Scout for already knowing how to read and doesn’t know the faux pas of the town social nuances.What surprised me most about the court case was how swift it was decided. I don’t know how fast these things went in the old days (to see if the book was an accurate portrayal for the time), but a one-day trial for rape seems too quick. Really, even small claims civil cases can take days with all the pomp and circumstance of a courtroom (at least in larger cities). Atticus really makes this an open and shut case with a few facts, but that doesn’t seem to sway the juror’s predisposed prejudice against the defendant on the basis of color.Then there’s this weirdness with a Halloween pageant where Scout has to dress like cured pork. Which leads up to a very real confrontation where she gets shanked in the ham.Then Boo ghosts out of his place and just kills Scout’s assailant abruptly, says about 2 lines and leaves to star in The Godfather.All in all, it was an okay novel. I can’t say I was blown away by it, but that might have been because my expectations were too high to begin with.
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  • Lizzy
    October 2, 2016
    As I finished Harper Lee's remarkable classic To Kill a Mockingbird I saluted myself for not having read this before. Nothing like the first time for us to fully appreciate a story. I could not remember when the lines above Atticus's moving fingers separated into words, but I had stared at them all the evenings in my memory, listening to the news of the day, Bills to be Enacted into Law, the diaries of Lorenzo Dow--anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. As I finished Harper Lee's remarkable classic To Kill a Mockingbird I saluted myself for not having read this before. Nothing like the first time for us to fully appreciate a story. I could not remember when the lines above Atticus's moving fingers separated into words, but I had stared at them all the evenings in my memory, listening to the news of the day, Bills to be Enacted into Law, the diaries of Lorenzo Dow--anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. I have never walked in an Alabama small town, much less in the thirties when I wasn't even born, but reading it I felt like I was marching along with Scout and Jem as a child; or sharing with Atticus the need to do whatever it takes to be able to hold my head high. "Scout," said Atticus, "when summer comes you'll have to keep your head about far worse things...it's not fair for you and Jem, but sometimes we have to make the best of things, and the way we conduct ourselves when the chips are down--well, all I can say is, when you and Jem are grown up, maybe you'll look back on this with some compassion and some feeling that I didn't let you down." I saw the leaves scattered on the ground, felt the wind on my face, the heat and the cold and smelled the smoke of fireplaces. I felt also for Tim Robinson and despised Mr. Ewell. And was enthralled to recognize Boo Radley along with Scout. "...I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her view, she died beholden to nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew." After a deep breath I realize that in the end everything was as well as it could be. Atticus sat looking at the floor for a long time. Finally he raised his head."Scout," he said, "Mr. Ewell fell on his knife. Can you possibly understand?"Atticus looked liked he needed chearing up. I ran up to him and hugged him him and kissed with all my might. "Yes sir, I understand," I reassured him. "Mr. Tate was right."Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. "What do you mean?""Well, it'd be sort of like shooting a mockingbird, wouldn't it?" And the innocence of the children was still intact, despite all the adults's effort to do away with it. The streets lights were fuzzy from the fine rain that was falling. As I made my way home, I felt very old, but when I looked at the tip of my nose I could see fine misty beads, but looking cross-eyed made me dizzy so I quit. As I made my way home, I thought what a thing to tell Jem tomorrow. He'd be so mad he missed it he wouldn't speak to me for days. As I made my way home, I thought Jem and I would get grown but there wasn't much left for us to learn, except possibly algebra. A masterpiece and an absolute joy to read. A must read without a doubt. Other quotes: "Do you defend niggers, Atticus?" I asked him that evening."Of course I do. Don't say nigger, Scout. That's common.""'s what everybody at school says.""From now on it'll be everybody less one-""Well if you don't want me to grow up talkin' that way, why do you send me to school?"---Atticus was right. One night he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radly porch was enough.---"Atticus--" said Jem bleakly.He turned in the doorway. "What, son?""How could they do it, how could they?""I don't know, but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again and when they do it--seems that only children weep."
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