Jul 26, 2010

To Kill A Mockingbird.

So I have been off-blogging for quite some time now - various reasons, but mostly because  I  have no time and this book review has been pending for a couple of months. I started to write this when I finished reading the book just as Mumbai was biding a barely-concealed happy farewell to the summer. Reading books while on my way to work is fast becoming one of my favorite things! :) Its been a while since I read something that moved me - made me happy, amused, sad and angry - all within the confines of some odd 300 pages. And this one was, to say the very least - a brilliantly written, well deserving 1961 Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece - and it went right up my favorites list.

'To Kill a Mockingbird' is a story told from the viewpoint of a six year old white girl, Jean-Louise "Scout" Finch, who recounts the events that led to her brother Jeremy Atticus "Jem" Finch breaking his arm. The two children live with their widowed father Atticus who is a lawyer, and their black housekeeper Calpurnia in the southern county Malcomb, Alabama. One summer, they make friends with Charles Baker "Dill" Harris, who is a visitor from out of town. The three children are fascinated by Arthur "Boo" Radley, a character that dwells inside the spooky house down the street, who hasnt been seen outside his home in years. They have never seen him, and together they concot various plans to get him to come out in the open.

Finally, as their fascination with Boo wanes, controversy hits the sleepy town of Malcomb, as Atticus is appointed as the defending lawyer for Tom Robinson, a black man, accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white girl. This event has a huge impact in the lives of the young children, particularly Scout, as their friends and family start calling their father a "nigger-lover". Scout and Jem witness the trial, as their father, an extraordinary lawyer defends Tom, but soon find out that Malcomb county, as much as Alabama in the 1930's, was deeply racial and prejudiced.

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, 
but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

This is a novel that depicts the coming of age of Scout - how the events that happen in those young years of her life shape up her beliefs and convictions later on. She learns to be more tolerant of others, learns that justice doesn’t always happen, and realizes that the society that she lives is divided into classes and races. She learns to think again about the prejudices that she makes, and learns to accept that things are not always like they are expected to be. In the end, she is a matured young girl and has grown more as a child than most adults will do in their lifetime.

Harper Lee tells a story that spans over three years of the Great Depression and deals with sensitive issues like racism, oppression and injustice through the eyes of a six year old child. The book came at the right time - Martin Luther King was about to start the black civil rights movement - and it carried with it a strong sense of racial equality. What makes the book such a compelling read is the simplicity of the writing, complete with the southern accent and ways of living in the 1930's. The ability of the book, through its entertaining action to draw the readers sympathy for events that happened in the 1930's, and the many "mockingbirds" in the book, without being preachy makes it a must read classic in its own right.

P.S: Definitely a 5/5. Must read.
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Vrinda said...

Thank you.

I just finished one novel and thinking of to read a new one.

I got the e book so shall start reading it from tomorrow.

Meera Parameswaran said...

Agreed. Something that should not be missed. :)

RGB said...

One of my favourite books, you've put it down nicely. A must read!

- Sugar Cube - said...

I loved it too.Its so nicely written.

Raj said...

i ahve to read it now.

simply me said...

i had read this book a few years back it is one awesome book :)

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