A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
Well, I’m not sure where to start with this novel, and I’m not sure I’m aloud to describe it with the millions of adjectives I have in mind, so I’ll pick my favourite one and that should sum the book up nicely.
Outstanding. Simply, outstanding.
Why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading such a classical book I have no idea, but I’m thrilled I finally ticked it off my list. As a group we’ve recently read quite a few contemporary ‘book group’ reads and to be honest, we’re sick of them. Little originality, very few meaningful plots and writing styles that, quite frankly, should never have seen the light of day. We’ve also had quite a few that read as though they’ve just hatched out from a creative writing egg. Dull, dull, dull. So you can imagine our delight when we all thought that this book was wonderful.
It’s a very powerful eye-opener, and we all thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but it does have some very sad issues with a front row seat to an appalling miscarriage of justice. What makes it a difficult read is that these events and prejudices were genuine across America at the time. It’s just incredibly sad what humans will do to one another and it really does knock your faith in mankind.
Harper Lee manages to grab your attention from the word go with interesting characters and a perfect protagonist. Seeing through the eyes of a child really emphasises some of the incredibly deep points in the novel and is probably what makes it so meaningful. As a group we could have discussed this book for hours. For me, I became hooked when it came to the trial of Tom Robinson. Not only was I intrigued by the case, but I was also intrigued by the eclectic range of characters on both sides of the trial. As a group we discussed the implications and consequences of the verdict and it seemed that none of us could foresee the outcome. The outcome was indeed, heartbreaking, but the final few chapters manage to pull together some form of justice for the Robinson family.
I’ve never become emotional when reading a book but this nearly had me in tears. It is so beautifully crafted that you end up enjoying the read rather than feeling lost and empty by the end. Harper Lee has touched on such delicate issues, which don’t have a favourable resolution, yet still manages to allow the reader a sense of comfort and closure at the end. Everything knitted together perfectly. There were no loose ends and no wondering what happened next. We all agreed that the book was fulfilling and even the characters were aloud closure.
Overall it’s probably the best book we’ve read in book group. It has everything you would want from a great read and it’s such a sad shame that the author has never written anything else. I can’t recommend this book enough. Whatever your taste in books, this is definitely worth your time. It’s incredibly well written and considering the serious tone of the novel it still manages to be both warm and humorous in parts, so add it to your list – you won’t be disappointed.