To Kill A Mockingbird

Read the book To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’d heard much about it and am glad now that I read it. The book is narrated through Scout, a 6 year old girl. It is set in the 1930s in Maycomb, a sleepy Southern US county. The novel is a Bildungsroman, as we follow the adventures of Scout, her elder brother Jem and their summer vacation friend Dill through their years, we also see significant events happening in the county and how these events shape their thinking. Scout’s dad is Atticus, a honest free thinking lawyer. About half of the book sets the stage by introducing the county, the neighbours of Scout, her adventures in school and most importantly the society of the America of those years. The real deal is when Atticus has to defend a black named Tom who has been charged of raping a white girl. As Scout and Jem follow their dad’s court ordeal, they also perceive the change in the county towards them (this is Southern USA remember?). It changes their thinking about people and society and starts moulding them into maturity.

The book won a Pulitzer Prize. It was also made into a highly acclaimed movie which I’m now eager to see. I loved the book, couldn’t keep it down once I started on it. There are several aspects in the book which endeared it to me — of lost innocence, of racism in the USA, of small town America, of the 2-tone view of a child’s world and of how the world is a total complicated mess. Through all the hell around him, Atticus stands as steady as a rock for his children, always making them think about the answers to their queries of the world around them. Lee was apparently inspired by the Scottsboro Boys trial for this book. From what I know, under its shiny veneer racism still lurks in the richest nation of the world. This book is just as relevant today as it was in 1960. Eminently readable.

[ Cover of the 1967 Penguin Edition reprint, this is the one I read from.
I couldn’t find a better cover pic on the internet. ]

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