It seems rather pointless to "review" such a timeless and beloved American classic. It's really astounding just how many people have read this book, and of that majority, how many people truly love it. For example, my first morning class is full of students who generally seem uninterested in everything we do. It could have something to do with meeting at 8am. Imagine my surprise when this otherwise quiet and withdrawn group saw my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and launched into stories of reading it in school and how much they loved it.
Likewise, my very best friend growing up and to this day is not a reader. She's a self-proclaimed hater of reading, in fact. However, To Kill a Mockingbird is close to her heart. Her favorite book. A fond reading memory out of all the horrible ones she recalls.
So many factors contributed to my avoiding this book until now --the general hype, having seen the movie a zillion times, my avoidance of Southern fiction dealing with issues of race (seems so often poorly or overdone). It all just seemed like I would be disappointed. I hated to waste my time reading a book that I figured would just let me down. I didn't want the hype to make this one just "another book."
I'm so thrilled to say that this book lived up to everyone's recommendations and completely blew my expectations out of the water. Harper Lee's writing is just as enigmatic and compelling as her persona. The highlight of the book is most definitely the memorable characters. Atticus, Jem, and especially Scout are incredibly endearing and well rounded. I loved Scout's mischievous nature and natural sweetness and goodness. She's really a hoot. Beating up boys, stalking the Radley house, and generally getting into trouble.
Aside from the great characters, the book is genuinely wonderfully written. The action builds slowly allowing the reader to really sink into the setting, get to know the characters, and learn about the harshness and unfairness of 1930s Southern life right along with Scout and Jem.
I always say that any great and truly memorable book has the power to move me to tears, and this one is no exception. I'm tickled to join the ranks of people who consider To Kill a Mockingbird one of their all-time favorite books.
What to read next?? It's a tough act to follow.
I have to thank Kristy. When she heard I hadn't read this book several months ago, she kindly sent a copy along to me to give me a boost. Likewise, I have to thank Heather F. and CdnReader for MAKING ME READ IT! They've been after me for YEARS (really, years) to read this book. As usual, they were right!
Note: My 3rd book for the 2008 TBR Challenge.