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To Kill a Mockingbird
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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I believe that this novel is even more important today than it was at the time when it was written since it reflects, although in a different manner, the racial tensions and unspoken prejudices that we are seeing at the present time. The role of African Americans is crucial to the survival of this society but as in The Help, the divide is staggering. Scout is fortunate that she and her brother, Jem, live in an enlightened household where their father, a single parent, is an intellectual who appreciates the African American housekeeper who has raised his children allowing him to pursue his legal and political career. The book does show the prejudice of the day in an horrific event and its consequences. It also suggests strongly that some of the white people of the town are married to their preconceived beliefs that Blacks are inferior and deserve less, while others believe that this is unjust and unfair, but are afraid to express their dislike for the treatment of African Americans. As such, they feel that Atticus expresses the moral high road that they are afraid to tread publicly.
As the novel unfolds we see the children come of age and get differing perspectives on events and explore the many facets of neighbors on the block and the differences between the treatment of the races, the tensions between the rich and poor, the problems of people fighting physical and mental challenges, and child abuse. There are so many deep issues packed into this slim novel that its simple narration by a young girl involves the reader into deciphering the depth of the issues and moral judgements.
I liked it even more. There was so much that I just didn't "get" when I read it the first time when I was a teenager; so much of the story I'd missed with an adolescent mind forced to read a book that had nothing to do with my life. I suppose that is how we are as kids.
I've read this book more than a couple times since; most recently when I got it on my Kindle, and it never stops amazing me.
Everything about this book is exquisite. The description of where it takes place, the characters are drawn so vividly and honestly that you can see them in your head, the attitudes of that specific place and time (so different now, but so the way it was) . But it's the writing that makes everything come together.
A short span of time from the eyes of a little girl told from her adult self, is honest in every respect. It is descriptive, funny, disturbing, tragic; but there is so much love and honor. Atticus Finch may not be the greatest man or the greatest father (according to our standards today), but he truly IS an honest, true, outstanding man and an outstanding and loving and devoted father.
In my opinion, "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is one of the finest, if not the best, book I've ever read. And I will continue to read it because this is truly a novel that makes me laugh, makes me question "us" as a society (not just in the 1930s but even today), moves me, inspires me,
Possibly the best novel ever written.