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To Kill a Mockingbird Mass Market Paperback – October 11, 1988
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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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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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.
Most recent customer reviews
Miss Lee began with the horrendous "Go Set a Watchman" -- an unreadable mess rejected by publishers.Read more