Another book blog I read recently, related that the person having read this book did not know what to say about it. She/he had to think the book over before writing a review. I agree totally. It is always difficult to read a modern classic, and especially one that has received such raving reviews as this one. A prize winner, a once in a life-time book, etc, etc. Can it live up to your expectations?
Well, it did. That does not mean that it is easy to review it. It is not at all what I expected, but it is a wonderful book. Written from the view of Scout, her brother Jem and friend Dill. The story relates three years of their life, and what is happening in their small, southern town in Alabama. The father Atticus Finch, is a lawyer and a widower. He is given a case where a black person is accused of raping and violated a white girl. This is no easy thing in the south in the 1930s.
The trial takes up a large part of the story, although not always in the court room. It lingers over their lives. The terrible thing is that we all know that Tom is innocent, and like the children we all hope that this time justice will prevail.
The story is told with a wonderful sense of humour, describing through the children, the quiet town life, where everybody has an eye out on what is happening, and a view as well. Through the eager eyes of the youngsters you are showed all the prejudices and hypocrisies of their society, and how difficult it is to change the views, even when you are trying. One of their neighbours, Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley, is a recluse and never shows himself outside the house. Of course this is too much of a challenge for the youngsters, since it causes curiosity beyond the imagination. They try different things to make him come out of the house. However, they could not in their wildest fantasy imagine what would draw him out in the end. This is also where finally Atticus are forced into being flexible with his own sense of justice.
I can imagine that it was a controversial book when it came out. Now times have moved forward a little bit, but maybe not much, when you just look at recent news. It is always a sad thing when people are judged by how they look, rather than who they are. Atticus tried to be non-prejudiced and set a good example for his children. It was a brave thing to do, and I think he was very successful.
One think I could not understand though, is why the children called him Atticus instead of dad? Anybody who has a thought?
The book was made into a film in 1962, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.
Harper Lee will soon publish her second book, Go Set a Watchman, which seems she wrote before To Kill a Mockingbird. Mysteriously, the script was recently found. Looking forward to another book by Harper Lee.