Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

{Note: I try to keep this review mostly spoiler-free.  However, there are a few in the  “What I liked” section of this review.}

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What It’s About:
Here’s a summary of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee from Good Reads (here):

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.

Here’s a bit more about the plot from Barnes and Nobles (here):

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred [sic]

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

What I liked:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of my all-time favorite books.  It’s not called an American classic for nothing!  To Kill A Mockingbird is about racial prejudices in the South in the 1930’s.  This book will make you laugh, cry, and want to punch something (or someone).

One area that Harper Lee really excels in is characterization.  All her characters are very real, and they all are unique in their personalities.  For example, Scout, the main character, is an innocent, naïve young girl, who’s a tomboy and is always getting into trouble.  Jem, her brother, acts tough for his little sister, but he genuinely cares about her.  Dill, Jem and Scout’s best friend, is small for his age but acts tough and thinks he’s smart.  Atticus, Jem and Scout’s father, is a lawyer, who cares about doing what he believes is right and doesn’t back down even in the face of impossible odds.  All these characters have their own unique personalities, one element that makes this book truly a worth-while read.

The story centers around a court case in which Atticus is defending a black man accused of raping a white girl.  The black man (Tom Robinson), as you find out in the story, did not really rape the white girl, and Atticus believes Tom.  This is unheard of in the South in the 1930’s.  While most defense lawyers would not defend Tom Robinson fairly because he is black, Atticus defends Tom to the best of his ability.

Scout, the main character, develops throughout the course of the novel and learns that the world is not as innocent as she once thought it was.  She’s made fun of in school because her father is defending Tom.  But she has to learn to stand strong through all the mayhem and evil of the world.  This book is unbelievably moving, and the story conceals truths and morals that are still relevant today.

What I didn’t like:

There really isn’t anything I would change about this book.  I love everything about it (except the cussing).  However, once you get past the cussing, you’ll realize the true genius of this book.  Please do yourself a favor and read it, if you haven’t already.

Who I would recommend this book for:

This book contains PG-13 material, including rape and some cuss words.  The book does not show the rape scene but talks about it often, since there is a lawsuit about it, which is the main plot of the book.  Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone 10 and under.  I said this above, but let me say it again.  Once you get past the cussing and yucky stuff, you find a story containing wonderful truths and messages.  Believe me, you don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t read it (or maybe now you do since I just told you what you’re missing 😉 ).

Underlying themes and messages:

Messages and themes include (source):

  • Justice–Tom Robinson is innocent.
  • Courage–Atticus’s courage standing up for what is right.
  • Social classes–All men are created equal.
  • Racism–Discrimination against African-Americans.
  • Heroism

Rating (Barnes and Nobles):

Barnes and Nobles give this book a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.

My rating:

I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 star rating, as well.

To Kill A Mockingbird movie:

The movie was well-done but, of course, not as good as the book.  If you want to see the movie (which I would never recommend watching before reading the book), simply Google “To Kill A Mockingbird movie,” and you’ll find it.

Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee?  Did you like it?  Tell me what you think in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird

  1. Sarah

    I love To Kill A Mockingbird as well. It is great to see a strong, upright father figure like Atticus. I remember the first time I read it, I had a hard time getting “into” the story, because it is all written from a young kid’s perspective, but after a few chapters I was hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure. I definitely agree about Atticus; he’s a great character. Yeah, the first chapter wasn’t too interesting for me, but after that, I couldn’t put it down. 🙂

      Like

  2. yeeesssssss omw i finished reading it for fun just a few weeks ago. it’s so good!! my lit teacher was talking about how it’s an amazing piece of literature partly because it explores heavy material through the eyes of a 6 year old girl. and it’s in first person so we can hear her thoughts. amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hannahwriter98

    I only read To Kill a Mockingbird a few months ago, but I absolutely loved the boldness of the story. Harper Lee really made me think hard about how prejudice is still a problem all over the world today. Have you read the sequel, Go Set a Watchman?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same for me, hannahwriter98. This book really made me think about racism. Yes, I have read Go Set a Watchman, and I thought it was good, but not quite as good as To Kill A Mockingbird. Have you read it? 🙂

      Like

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