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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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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
It is a Southern small town novel that involves you in the lives of the unique characters through the eyes of a child. But it also includes a secondary plot of the racism that is pervasive in America and gives the reader a lot to think about even in 2015 (especially in light of current events). But many of the issues raised are difficult to read and can be upsetting to the reader. Hopefully, it will encourage change in the reader on one level or another.