14th October 2018 – 5/5 stars.
I studied this novel for my English Literature O level back in 1974/5 and it changed my life. The story taught me about tolerance and hope in a world of ignorance, prejudice and injustice. I wanted to be an author and write a novel as moving and memorable as this.
So, having such profound memories of the novel, would I still love it forty years on?
Of course I did. Only this time, I read it as a reader.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a book of its time, beautifully portraying the atmosphere, people and attitudes of a small Alabama town in the 1930s. Yet you see it through the eyes of Scout Finch, the curious, questioning nine year old daughter of lawyer and humanitarian, Atticus Finch. Seeing the horrors that unfold through the eyes of a young girl makes them all the more powerful and dramatic.
But this is so much more than a story about racial prejudice. It’s a story about hope and enlightenment through respect, understanding and tolerance. It shows the best and the worst of people without judgement.
‘Never judge a man until you’ve walked in his shoes,” Atticus tells his children.
Though slow in pace by today’s standards, the novel weaves a rich tapestry that draws you in and slowly builds tension on several fronts before exposing you to the harsh realities of the time. It’s memorable, sad, challenging and as powerful as the day I first read it.
And while I am now an author, I would still love to write something as moving and memorable.
Everyone should read this novel.