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Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee

I recently read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for school and I decided to do a book review on it. So here's a quick description of the story, in case you haven't heard much about it:

  Living in a small town called Maycomb and experiencing the fun of summer and the sufferings of school, a young girl named Scout Finch watches her father Atticus Finch, an attorney, risking everything - his job, reputation and even his life - to prove the innocence of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of a crime he didn't commit. 

The characters - Atticus Finch, Scout Finch, Jem Finch and Calpurnia, as well as others - were well-rounded and had a sense of reality to them that I know as a writer I struggle to create. They spoke, acted and thought like one would think them to, but not in an overdone or annoying way.

I loved the perspective on the story that it had. Written in light of the events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, it has an interesting and unique perspective on the events of Tom Robinson's case.

The whole novel is set in a small town called Maycomb in Alabama in the 30'sAs Scout struggles to decide what's right and wrong, who is right and who is wrong, and whether some people actually are better than others, the reader can feel the inward battles that a young girl - around eight by the time the book ends, I think - faces in a small town that is set in its ways.

If I understand correctly, this book is under a lot of heat and has been taken off the 8th Grade reading list in the U.S.A. It offended people because of the use of the "N" word. However, I didn't think this should be a reason to take it off the reading list. Yes, it was uncomfortable for me to read it - but it was also true to the times, and I think that even if at the time it was written this word was completely acceptable, it was still meant to make the reader feel uncomfortable. The thought of people judging others and persecuting them based on the color of their skin isn't meant to be comfortable. Because it's not okay. It's something that should never be comfortable, and To Kill a Mockingbird got that point across very well in my mind.

So, yes, there is some language in the story. That one in particular is used more than is comfortable for the reader, but I think it's a necessary part of the story. There are also occurrences of other language, and because Tom Robinson is accused of rape, I wouldn't necessarily suggest it for young readers. However, I enjoyed it and found it educational. I also found Atticus Finch to be an inspiring character - and I'm pretty sure that many other people who have read the novel agree with me on that one.

The story felt real, and I felt like I was a part of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, although it seemed to be pretty long, mainly because it is a classic, so it isn't as fast-paced as novels today tend to be. Also, since the story world is set in a small town in the United States, it feels like small town life - not necessarily exciting and fast paced at first, or sometimes at all. Nevertheless, it was a great read, and I encourage you to read it, too!

I give To Kill a Mockingbird a four-and-a-half star review

Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? Did you like it? If so, why? If you didn't like it, are there any particular reasons why you didn't? Tell me in the comments below, or on my Facebook page Julia Witmer, Author!


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