Recently voted the #1 best loved novel in PBS’s The Great American Read, deservedly, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most critically acclaimed novels of all time, winning the Pulitzer Prize even while it was still on the best seller lists. Ten years after its publication, High Schools like mine where installing it into their regular curriculum, and librarians across the country were voting it one of the best and most inspirational novels of American literature of all time.
To Kill a Mockingbird led The Great American Read voting from the first week, and kept the lead for the entire five months of voting, despite strong competition from the other our five finalists, one of which (Lord Of The Rings) I personally voted for every day, but Mockingbird certainly deserves the win. As with many voters and critics, I wholeheartedly believe To Kill A Mockingbird is “The Great American Novel”.
As with many of my generation I discovered the novel 10 years after its initial publication as a high school student, reacquainted myself with it in college, and it was my main understanding of life in the deep south represented more realistically than other tomes like Gone With The Wind. And while the film adaptation starring Gregory Peck is a work of art in itself, both the triple Academy Award winning film and the Pulitzer winning novel can and should be appreciated as independent works as well as fully complimentary ones. If you have seen the film and never read the novel, please fulfill your artistic self by reading this moving and engrossing work.
A further wonderful experience can be had by enjoying the recent discovery of Go Set A Watchman by Lee, an interesting entrée to the masterpiece.