Saturday, March 21, 2015

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

SummaryThe 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. (Via

Pages: 232

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     You could consider me lucky. In both the seventh and eighth grade I was assigned to read one book for each grade in English, but none of those were "classics". My seventh grade year I read Tangerine by Edward Bloor, which was not that bad, but if you asked my fellow classmates, it was as if you were pulling their teeth out. Last year, my eighth grade year, I had to read one of a select fifty holocaust themed novel for our holocaust unit. Most students were paired with really short books because we were running out of time to finish the unit. But, my English teacher knew how much I love The Book Thief and she let me reread it. So, I have had a really good experience when it comes to reading mandated books for English. This year, for ninth grade, it was the first year I was assigned a classic novel. As you can see by the post title, it was To Kill a Mockingbird. While most of my classmates were dreading the thought of reading To Kill a Mockingbird, I was
genuinely excited. I had yet to read any classics and I was so excited to read such a highly acclaimed novel. 
     About four years ago, I began reading The Caster Chronicles, a.k.a the Beautiful Creatures series, by Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl. It was one of the first series I read when my love for reading took off and the series has remained with me for all these years. One question I always asked myself was, who is Boo Radley? Everyone in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina compared Uncle Macon, the town recluse, to Boo. I knew Boo Radley originated from a classic novel, but I never knew that he was from To Kill a
Mockingbird. But, after reading the novel, I realized the deep connection between
The Caster Chronicles and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both novels are based in deep southern towns that live in the past. Gatlin is unable to move on from the Civil War, they reenact the battles every year as if the outcome of the war will turn out differently. While Maycomb is unable to move towards racial justice. The last time I reread Beautiful Creatures was in early 2013 to prepare for the upcoming release of the book-to-movie adaptation. Now, I am interested to reread Beautiful Creatures to see if I can pick up on any more similarities between the two books. I think it is extremely fascinating that, in retrospect, The Caster Chronicles is loosely based off of To Kill a Mockingbird. It is just like Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities and Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices trilogy.
     To Kill a Mockingbird was full of rich and timeless quotes. To save myself time when it came to writing my analysis, I had marked any quotes that I found important or that could potentially make my analysis stronger. I had mentioned in my ARC review of The Return that I easily get post-it note happy, and the copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I borrowed from my school is the perfect example. I went through about four different colors of post-its, but thankfully, they were knock-offs, so when it came time for me to return the school's copy, I had not just wasted a ton of money since I had to take out all the post-its. It was rather sad though, because I had spent so much time labeling that I could no longer admire the array of colors and all the effort I put into it. Before returning my copy, I went through the book and wrote down all of the quotes I wanted to keep on record because I love to write down quotes for inspiration. Out of all the quotes I chose to keep, by far my favorite was said on page 50 by Miss Maudie, "There are some kind of men who—who’re so busy worrying about the next world they've never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” Although that quote was intended for Maycomb, I can easily relate to it. I am constantly thinking about what my future holds and how amazing it will be, yet I never live in the present. I have had many amazing opportunities and I have taken some of them, but others I have been so caught up on thinking about what it could lead to, that I never take the steps to make them a reality. You are capable of doing anything, it is just a matter of doing it. To keep my head in the present, I try to tell myself you can't be memorable if you don't do something worth remembering.
        As a reader, one of the the most annoying things to hear is someone telling you, "It is just a book." But, there is some truth to that. To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel full of timelessly relevant themes and quotes that can be interpreted in numerous ways. However, no matter how much you analyze something, it doesn't change anything. We can pick classic novels apart as much as we want, but it will only get us so far. Knowledge and action are two completely different things. Books spark the change by giving us the knowledge, but we are the only ones who can cause change. I do not know about you, but I have not recently, or ever for that matter, seen books walking down the street and initiating change.  
     I really enjoyed reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Its timeless themes, quotes and knowledge had me constantly flipping the pages. It definitely deserves its title as an "American Classic" and I hope future generations will also get the chance to enjoy reading it as well. I am interested in rereading To Kill a Mockingbird when I get older because I have heard from several different people that, at different ages, you comprehend the novel differently. I am interested to see how my perspective changes with age. 
     I would highly recommend reading To Kill a Mockingbird if you somehow miraculously escaped the "torture" in high school. Or, if you still have a couple of years until you reach that road, I recommend getting cozy with the novel early. You may enjoy reading more willingly than by force. I am thrilled for the release of Harper Lee's second novel, Go Set a Watchman, the only sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set to be released in July of this year.

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