For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to pick up To Kill a Mockingbird. Revered by nearly every reader and reviewer, it’s considered one of the greatest works of American fiction, and I was eager to join the party. This novel is a depression era tale set in Maycomb, Alabama, and follows Scout Finch, a young girl whose father is a lawyer. When her father, Atticus, defends a black man accused of rape, the audience is exposed to the lifestyle and racism of the time through the eyes of a child. Given it’s mature themes, the book may be inappropriate for younger audiences; however, it’s message makes it tale suitable for nearly everyone.
This book was absolutely fantastic. From the structure to the imagery, Lee created a masterpiece. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried at the end of this book; it was immeasurably moving. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is a life changing story of prejudice and fear, and I cannot imagine anyone facing regrets about reading this novel.
My Rating: 5/5 stars
So, let’s discuss the why this book was such a masterpiece:
To begin, the construction of the plot was absolutely phenomenal. The story came full circle in the most amazing ways, leaving me speechless and teary-eyed. I found that each plot point contributed greatly to the overall arc of both the story and Scout’s character. By the end, I felt as if I’d lived in Maycomb my whole life, because of how well explored every aspect of life was. Not only that, but Lee accomplished this in a nuanced fashion. Any “dumps” of exposition managed to play perfectly into the story given Scout’s age.
Additionally, Scout acted excellently as our narrator. Being a camp counselor, I’ve spent a lot of time with kids around Scout’s age, and she was written perfectly. Harper Lee made Scout feel as real as Maycomb. I was also a huge fan of Atticus and many of the other characters. There is something so raw about the characters in classical fiction that always amazes me.
Lee’s writing was also phenomenal. It was straight to the point while managing perfect imagery. Her style wasn’t overly descriptive, and in a way it further contributed to the tone and time of the novel. Set in the Great Depression, it almost makes sense for the writing to be powerful and dry, while works set in the Jazz Age are often flowery and hopeful. Everything about the story just felt so real.
Overall, To Kill a Mockingbird was an astounding read. I will definitely read it again in the future, and I know that I’ll realize even more incredible connections and themes a second time around.