Saturday, October 27, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird

Book Review

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I know I have read this book before. It's a classic.

But I don't remember if I had to read it as a school assignment or not. One would imagine so. Isn't every American teenager required to read this book at some point?

Well, I hope so. I remember that I loved this book.

Never mind that I couldn't remember what actually happened in this book.

I seem to remember something about the movie. That was a great movie too.

But what happened? I couldn't have told you.

And then I found out that my daughter would be reading this later this year as a school assignment.

Ah ha. That's my cue to get reading. And if I can't remember what happens, but I can remember that it is a great book?

Well... like I said, it's time to get reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird

This is a fictional story set in the American South in the 1930s. Some might even call this historical fiction, but since there are no direct references to the historical figures of that time and place, maybe this label is a bit of a stretch.

In case you hadn't already guessed, the setting of this novel is all about racism. Living it, loving it, hating it. Mostly just living it. I don't see a lot of justification of it or defense of the racism, just a subliminal acceptance of it, recognition of its wrongness, and the hope for change. Hope is better than nothing.

While I was rereading this, I kept hoping that this story was going to end "right." I honestly couldn't remember how it ended.

And now that I have reread it, I can't say definitively whether it ended "right" or not. That depends on your perspective. That depends on the author's perspective. That depends on the context in which it is read. When it is read. Where it is read. By whom it is read.

You'll have to decide for yourself.

A few of the author's choices of words struck me as unfamiliar or just plain unknown to me. I didn't keep notes of them all, but I assume that they are particular to that area of the South or maybe the South in general. I haven't spent much time at all in the South, so I can't say for sure.

Are you familiar with "scuppernongs"? I wrote this one down and now I've looked it up.

Grapes. Grapes native to the South. A particular species of grapes native to the American South. I've never heard of these grapes before. Ever. And I certainly don't remember them from my first reading of the book. Heh... if I can't remember how the plot ends, how could I be expected to remember reading the word "scuppernong"?

I discovered another curiosity (to me) in this second reading. At least twice, the author uses the idiom "... another think coming." This is curious to me, because I have always heard and said, "... another thing coming..." I had never encountered "another think coming" before (except that previous reading, which only marked my memory in a very limited way).

I love stumbling upon odd literary references and idioms and allusions.

Oh, and let's not forget to mention that this novel won the Pulitzer Prize. Another prize winner. But this one is one that I liked. Not like those other, more recent prize winners that I didn't like. This one was good. No. Great. This prize winner is great!

A classic. A prize winner. A great novel. Go read it if you haven't already.

Actually, go read it, even if you have already read it. It is worth it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your thoughtful comments.