- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 11, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0446310786
- ISBN-13: 978-0446310789
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9,921 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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 the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Atticus is a lawyer and neither Scout nor Jem are too impressed with his job early on because he is unlike the regular folk in Macomb County. As spring stretches into fall, Scout goes to school, she’s eight, in the third grade, and never afraid to talk back to a teacher, talk back to her maid Calpurnia, or fight a boy if they speak ill of Atticus. Jem, who is 12, is more interested in playing games with Dill, but he also keeps a tight rein on Scout, and because he’s older, she begrudgingly listens to him.
Things are far from idyllic in this Southern county, a black handyman named Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white girl named Mayella Ewell, Tom insists he’s innocent, and Atticus is the only one in Maycomb County who will defend Tom. Two nights before the trial, a mob appears in Atticus’ yard, threatening both Atticus and Tom Robinson. It’s Atticus himself who talks the angry mob down from their violent intentions. Despite their tender years, Jem and watch the trial. How does the trial go? Does Atticus get Tom acquitted? Or does the bigotry of the county foretell the verdict?
I love this book. There are so many interesting aspects to this book. Because it is told from the point of view of the children, specifically Scout, it makes the racism more horrifying, because the kids can’t quite understand what all the anger is all about and why some of it is directed at Atticus. Atticus is the moral conscience of the book, always giving his children lessons on how to treat people well, even some of the more despicable characters in the book, and living those beliefs. When the kids wish that Atticus was more like the other fathers in the county, Lee introduces a chapter where Miss Maudie, Atticus’ neighbor tells the kids that Atticus is the finest shot in Macomb County, and then he proves it by shooting a rabid dog. That gives the kids a respect of Atticus that they never had before. Lee also introduces Tom Robinson in an ingenious way, though Calpurnia, and soon Jem and Scout are going to Calpurnia’s church regularly, and sat in the balcony with the Reverend Sykes and the rest of the black people in the courthouse as the trial begins.
The maturing of Jem is another interesting aspect of the book, before the trial he is a happy go lucky kid, after the trial, he is a wholly different person, Scot doesn’t quite comprehend the change, but hopefully the reader can understand what has happened to Jem Finch. Perhaps the most interesting character is Boo Radley, Boo is a symbol, a metaphor. Jem and Scout don’t understand him, so they think he’s evil, just like most white people in Maycomb county don’t know any blacks and therefore think the worst of them. The last few chapters lull the reader into a false sense that the major events of the book are over and then, bam another surprise, and the book ends.
It is ironic that I finished this book in the wake of the shootings of nine black parishioners in South Carolina by a white supremacist. It’s hard to argue that we live in a post racial society in the wake of an event like this. 55 years after this book was written issues of race unfortunately still resonate in the U.S. That is reason enough to read this book, or read it again, like me. But there are many more reasons to read this book. I hope you do.
For more thoughtful reviews, please visit my blog reviewswithatude.wordpress.com
Nevertheless, the author is very even handed in balancing accounts of social and racial unrest with accounts of how a child experiences growing up in a time honored calendar of glorious summers and difficult school days. Southern traditions are explored and treasured and, at the same time, it is made clear that middle and upper class gentility was not universal and that it existed along with poverty and brutality and ignorance. Scout sees gentle folk as being people who do the best with what they have to be good family members and good citizens of their community. She also becomes aware of drunkenness, neglect, family tyranny, incest and rape and racism as deep currents with which she will have to contend as she matures.
To Kill a Mockingbird remains a work of undiminished vitality and importance. It still holds one's attention!
Whatever -- Everyone knows To Kill a Mockingbird is a pretty good book. Even if people now think of Atticus as a racist -- which he is a bit, but only in the same way even the civil rights heroes before Dr. King were. Just because Huck Finn is pretty damn racist today, doesn't mean Twain wasn't a progressive. . it's just relative. You wanna talk about racism -- how the hell does anyone justify literally anything written by Lovecraft? His great idea of horror is almost always 'Mongrel' magic. Yet people insist he invented science fiction. . .*shudders*