Publication Date: October 1st 1986 (first published 1860)
Age Group: Young Adult/ Adult
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature
Last week we looked at what I called one of the most incredible novels of its time. This week we will look at one of the most inspirational, life changing experiences of all time. It reminds me of when I was reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower in its innocence and its power.
What I Liked: I've already compared To Kill a Mockingbird with Perks of Being a Wallflower but I haven't explained why. I think the perspective of their chosen narrators determines that they can develop a strong and intense bond with their audiences. Charlie from Perks and Scout from Mockingbird have a similar voice. They see things with the same innocence and without the prejudices of their adult contemporaries.
One of the most extraordinary things about Mockingbird is how witty and forthright it is despite concerning rape and racial inequality. There is a strong sense of humour lingering amidst Scout's youthful opinions that isn't dulled by the messages of tolerance and justice.
What I Didn't Like: One of the problems with all older novels is that the language loses familiarity and colloquialisms are harder to grasp. Mockingbird isn't as difficult as Wuthering Heights or any of Jane Austen's novels but it can still lose your attention at times.