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To Kill a Mockingbird [Paperback]

Harper Lee
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,889 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lee's beloved American classics makes its belated debut on audio (after briefly being available in the 1990s for the blind and libraries through Books on Tape) with the kind of classy packaging that may spoil listeners for all other audiobooks. The two CD slipcases housing the 11 discs not only feature art mirroring Mary Schuck's cover design but also offers helpful track listings for each disk. Many viewers of the 1962 movie adaptation believe that Lee was the film's narrator, but it was actually an unbilled Kim Stanley who read a mere six passages and left an indelible impression. Competing with Stanley's memory, Spacek forges her own path to a victorious reading. Spacek reads with a slight Southern lilt and quiet authority. Told entirely from the perspective of young Scout Finch, there's no need for Spacek to create individual voices for various characters but she still invests them all with emotion. Lee's Pulitzer Prize–winning 1960 novel, which quietly stands as one of the most powerful statements of the Civil Rights movement, has been superbly brought to audio. Available as a Perennial paperback. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Spacek, with her lilting Southern accent, perfectly captures the voice of Scout, the young girl whose life is thrown into turmoil when her father, the upright and highly ethical lawyer Atticus Finch, takes on the defense of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Their sleepy Alabama town may never be the same and Spacek's exceptional pacing propels this Pulitzer Prize-winner-a staple of many high school reading lists-to its inexorable conclusion. The 1962 film, starring Gregory Peck (who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch), was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1995.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Library Journal

Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning first (and last) novel of racial injustice in a small Southern town ranks among just about everyone's favorite books. This 35th-anniversary edition contains a brief new foreword by the elusive Lee. (LJ
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A first novel of such rare excellence that it will no doubt make a great many readers slow down to relish more fully its simple distinction...A novel of strong contemporary national significance."

-- Chicago Tribune

"All of the tactile brilliance and none of the precocity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issues for Southern writers...Novelist Lee's prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of use truths about little girls and about Southern life...Scout Finch is fiction's most pealing child since Carson McCullers's Frankie got left behind at the

wedding." -- Time

"That rare literary phenomenon, a Southern novel with no mildew on its magnolia leaves. Funny, happy and written with unspectacular precision, To Kill a Mockingbird is about conscience--how it is instilled in two children, Scout and Jem Finch; how it operates in their father, Atticus a lawyer appointed to defend a Negro on a rape charge, and how conscience crows in their small Alabama town."

--Vogue

"Remarkable triumph . . . Miss Lee writes with a wry compassion that makes her novel soar." (Life magazine )

"Miss Lee wonderfully builds the tranquil atmosphere of her Southern town, and as adroitly causes it to erupt a shocking lava of emotions." (San Francisco Examiner )

"Skilled, unpretentious and tototally ingenuous . . . tough, melodramatic, acute, funny." (The New Yorker )

"A novel of great sweetness, humor, compassion, and of mystery carefully sustained." (Harper's Magazine )

"Marvelous . . . Miss Lee's original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel." (The New York Times ) --Review

"Remarkable triumph . . . Miss Lee writes with a wry compassion that makes her novel soar." (Life magazine )

"Miss Lee wonderfully builds the tranquil atmosphere of her Southern town, and as adroitly causes it to erupt a shocking lava of emotions." (San Francisco Examiner )

"Marvelous . . . Miss Lee's original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel." (The New York Times )

"A novel of great sweetness, humor, compassion, and of mystery carefully sustained." (Harper's Magazine )

"Skilled, unpretentious and tototally ingenuous . . . tough, melodramatic, acute, funny." (The New Yorker ) --Review

"Remarkable triumph . . . Miss Lee writes with a wry compassion that makes her novel soar." (Life magazine )<br /><br />"Miss Lee wonderfully builds the tranquil atmosphere of her Southern town, and as adroitly causes it to erupt a shocking lava of emotions." (San Francisco Examiner )<br /><br />"Marvelous . . . Miss Lee's original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel." (The New York Times )<br /><br />"A novel of great sweetness, humor, compassion, and of mystery carefully sustained." (Harper's Magazine )<br /><br />"Skilled, unpretentious and tototally ingenuous . . . tough, melodramatic, acute, funny." (The New Yorker ) --Review --This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.

From the Publisher

Featuring a new introduction by the author, this specially packaged, popularly priced hardcover edition of an American classic (with more than 30 million copies sold) celebrates the 35th anniversary of its original publication. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many dis-tinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal). HarperCollins is proud to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's publication with this special hardcover edition.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntington College and studied law at the University of Alabama. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Pulitzer Prize, and many other accolades.

From AudioFile

It's good to be reminded of the power wielded by this classic of American literature. As the introductory music fades and Sissy Spacek begins her narration, we immediately enter the small town in the Deep South where all the timeless issues of kindness and cruelty, inclusion and prejudice are played out in a story told by a little girl named Scout. Instead of offering a range of accents, Spacek reads the story entirely in her own, or Scout's, voice. The choice works, for the book is written from Scout's point of view, and Spacek has just the right level of Southern accent for easy listening. This is an unforgettable story well told. A.C.S. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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