To Kill A Mocking Bird came to me in my mid twenties when half of the world devoured it as a textbook in their ninth grade. YES! I feel ashamed to admit it. But as it happens, good things come to me a little (lot, actually) late. But they do come, so I have no reason to complain.
Literally speaking, this book does not need a review or a reason why it should rest on your reading list. But then there are ‘The late great me‘ souls who need to know about this and then there is me who needs to acknowledge the shameful act of procrastination.
I do not remember who recommended me this book. Maybe it came from the numerous bookish channels that I am a part of. I got this book as a birthday present from my friend Shivangi. And even before I started reading it, I started recommending it. So the book traveled numerous friendly shelves before it finally arrived to my humble abode.
So finally when I started reading it, I was in the zone where you realize ‘why-so-much-hype-around-it’. The story starts with narration from Scout Finch (the protagonist) in a fascinating manner- circular. She starts with depicting the broken arm of Jem (her brother) and ends up narrating the reason behind that. I had to re-read it three times, I believe, to get a grasp of what’s happening.
I have this chaotic mind which flutters if two or more characters are introduced in one paragraph. Another disgraceful act which my puny little mind did here, is creating confusion about the gender of Scout. Almost after 20 pages I realized that she is a girl.
Nevertheless, the story is about two young kids being raised by a widower father who wants his children to grow up to be good human beings. Harper Lee wove a very mysterious but interesting character of Arthur (Boo) Radley, their neighbor, who would never come out of his house. The peculiar and strange behavior keeps these children in frenzy and they keep trying to lure him outside the house. The kidlings are venturesome and their only task during summer holidays is to make plans to bait Boo Radley out of his mansion.
It is only in the later part of the book, they realize that something more important is going around in Maycomb. It is around these pages that the children start revealing their matured characters.
Scout, with whom I could relate myself, is a tomboy and she doesn’t feel a hint of hesitation to use her fists if someone badmouths her family. Her aunt Alexandara insists on being more ladylike which she comfortably ignores. She displays great courage and love for her family many a times in the story, irrespective of her age.
The book is stashed with beautiful narration and quotes. And I underlined these ones-
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.
And although the book was written and published in the 1960, this particular quote is never going to die.
People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.
The USP of the book is the narration of a thrilling court case where Atticus Finch is trying to save a black man from false accusations of rape and assault on a white woman. The very ease with which he convinces and earns the respect of people of Maycomb is gripping. Although he fails to save the man from getting convicted, he leaves an important message for his fellow countryman and his children.
Atticus’ stance about not letting his children fall prey to racism is commendable.
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
Which made me think, isn’t it the same story everywhere? The evil trying to wreck havoc on righteousness. One man trying to protect the sanity of humanity. The fear of losing the your children to naysayers. The daunty task of patient parenting.
Imagine handling all of this as a person.
All inclusive, the book is a must read for all. Not because its a classic, but because of the simplicity that has been woven into the words and the story.
And this one last line which keeps ringing in my ears-
I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
A 4/5 for this amazing read. 🙂