Short and Sweet Reviews // To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“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.”

// Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to read such a wonderful book. To Kill a Mockingbird is considered one of America’s great classic novels and for good reason, it is a beautiful story and more than well written. I read it in four days because I couldn’t bear to put it down and I found myself on the brink of tears more than once in that time.

Published in 1960 the novel is loosely based on Harper Lee’s own family and neighbors and an event that happened near her hometown when she was very young. The story is a coming of age in the south during the depression. It deals with hard subjects, like racial inequality, rape, gender roles, and even education. This book tackles those hard ideas with humor and a sense of innocence which rather than dampening the delivery it somehow emphasizes the how morally bankrupt these people were.

The writing feels pure even when what is written makes you feel angry, and sad, and frustrated because even though you know that this is fiction you also know that it is telling a profound truth about the way things really were in this country.

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

// Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

I think this is the kind of book you have to read more than once. I think it is the kind of book that can be viewed in so many ways and teach us so many things about who we were and who we are that it must be given more than one chance. For me, for this reading, I took away the horrific reality that so many people sat idly by while people were treated like they didn’t matter at all and I took away a feeling of  frustration at a population that could see what was wrong with Hitler in Germany and saw nothing wrong with its own social norms and routine injustice.

There is so much more I could say about the book but I think I need more time to truly process what it is Ms. Harper Lee was trying to tell us. I need to process the meaning and my own feelings about all of it.

In the meantime, I feel mostly grateful. I feel grateful for Atticus and his children. I am grateful to have seen this simple town through their eyes and felt what they felt as the navigated a very complicated time in American history.

If you have never read it you should. Go read it and see a tiny slice of American history for all the good and all the bad it was.

“They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again and when they do it — seems that only the children weep. Good night.”

// Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird



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