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To Kill a Mockingbird Paperback – July 5, 2005
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“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)
From the Back Cover
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
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.
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Scout gets some valuable life lessons from her father. She sees that doing the moral thing, is not always an easy, or popular, or safe thing to do. But it's the <i>right</i> thing to do. She also learns that everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and to receive justice, no matter what their skin color.
I first read TKAM in high school 50 years ago. I re-read it, as I'm sure many others have, in preparation for reading the recently published "To Set a Watchman". I was touched deeply by this story in 1967. And I'm touched just as deeply in 2017. Harper Lee made us stare prejudice and injustice in the face, and made us want to aspire to be an Atticus Finch. A flag-waving 5 stars!
I was so wrong. Harper Lee is an amazing writer. Her tale of kids and their summer adventures really would have been enough. I stood in my hallway after the book downloaded & completely forgot that I was going to another room. I was completely sucked in by Scout, Jem & Dill's antics in trying to lure the elusive Boo Radley from his house. And because I fell in love with fierce little Scout I was ready to fight the townfolk myself when the controversy over her father's defense of Tom Robinson came to call on the Finch family.
Yes, it is still relevant today - town rumors and conjecture take the stage much like hysterical media does today, and injustice is served. But it's also a beautiful little vignette of summertime in a small town, a place where adventures are always there for the bold and imaginative.
I have always associated this book with the trail and the story of the father defending a black man. This must come from my vague memories of watching the movie in the classroom.
However, I realized that I missed this whole 'nother story' of the Boo Radley and Jem and Scout. This sub story really brought home the feel of small town southern life with the fear of the house and the man in the house because he's not known, like everything else around them.
Additionally, the details that you can read about in the book that make things seem more real or believable stuck out at me. The flowers in the corner of the lot were Mayelle lives brings home the misery of the small home she lives in and makes everything all that more understandable in some sad way. Dill with his stories of life 'back home' helps bring home how really lucky Jem and Scout are with their father. And many other countless examples.
It is things like this that made this book a classic and have kept it a classic. It is the great writing and the story told through Scout's eyes that bring it all together to make this the book that brought home the times and the culture to a nation (and now a generation) who might never have otherwise seen it.
Well worth the money and well worth reading and rereading.