Genre: Classic Fiction
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
The first time I heard of this book was when I found out that it was a favoured book of Lisa Simpson’s: “…and please don’t deprive yourself of wonderful books like, To Kill a Mockingbird…”
When I first found a copy of the book I didn’t know much about it apart from the Simpsons references, of which there is another that stuck in my mind, spoken by Homer: “Books are useless! I only ever read one book, To Kill a Mockingbird, and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds. Sure, it taught me not to judge a man by the colour of his skin, but what good does that do me?”
On the theme of the Simpsons, here are two links to sites which focus on Lisa’s literary interests (then I promise we’ll talk about TKAM):
Everything I just mentioned made me want to read it even more, and I knew it was a classic and a book that had to be read at some point in my life, so I got the 50th Anniversary Edition and started reading it straight away. I liked the quote before the story:
“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” – Charles Lamb
This, of course, is referring to Atticus Finch, lawyer, and father to Scout and Jem Finch, who are the main focus of the novel, as it told from Scout’s perspective. This is one of the aspects that I think makes the novel so likeable: serious issues such as rape and racism are represented and explored through the perspective of a young, curious child. For me, the book has a certain atmosphere when you read it. I get that feeling of being young again when the summers seemed to last a lifetime, and everything could be turned into fun and games. When you’d go outside on a lazy Sunday evening and create stories in the garden. This is what makes the book a favourite of mine, the ability it has to take me back to my childhood, as well as having a deeper, important meaning of learning how to see things from another’s perspective and consider the other side to the story. The way Harper Lee told this story is what makes it such an important book, and it will be one that is read and re-read and discovered by new readers for a long time.
The book now has a companion, Go Set a Watchman, which is set years after the first novel, when Scout is an adult. For fan’s of TKAM, this is also a must read, and I will do a separate review for it at a later date.
I can’t leave out the joke that my friend phoned me up one day to tell me:
What do you get when you mix alcohol and literature?
Some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“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.”
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
“With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable.”
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
Links to the first and second book on Goodreads: