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To Kill a Mockingbird Mass Market Paperback – October 11, 1988
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"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
"Remarkable triumph . . . Miss Lee writes with a wry compassion that makes her novel soar."―Life magazine
"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
"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
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It is Scout that introduces us to Maycomb, Alabama. “Maycomb was an old town . . . somehow, it was hotter then . . . men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with”. Through Scout’s eyes the reader will meet such characters as Dill Harris, the summer ward and confederate to Scout and Jem. The faded Southern bell, Mrs. Dubose. You will be drawn to the mystery of Boo Radley, the “malevolent phantom” and his curious relationship with the children.
But mostly this is the story of Atticus Finch and the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of the rape of a white woman. The story of a father of gentle kindness, yet a man of unyielding ethics and moral character, pitted against the racial hatred that boils to the surface in a small southern town. Through the eyes of a child, Harper Lee lays bare the dark soul of prejudice and ignorance while at the same time dispassionately acknowledging its existence. Through the telling of the story the reader comes to understand both the good and evil that reside in us, and finally the nobility of spirit that leaves the most lasting impression. We are left enriched.
Compelling, thought provoking, poignant.
Sympathetic , emotional and profoundly moving , To Kill a Mockingbird seethes to the bases of human conduct -to blamelessness and experience, generosity and savagery , love and scorn, puerility and tenderness. Presently with more than 25 million copies sold in print and translated in ten languages , this territorial story by a youthful Alabama lady claims all inclusive bids. Harper Lee constantly thought of her book to be a straightforward love story . Today it is viewed as a gem of American Literature. Summing up from cover to cover " Lawyers , I suppose were children once" --Charles Lamb to the last sentence " He would be there all night , and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning" says it all . IJAZ DURRANI