With the release of Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, I knew I finally had to see for myself why this author and this series had created such a stir. And it’s probably the best decision I ever made regarding books. Check out my review of To Kill A Mockingbird, and if you haven’t read it yet, then please do!!
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into ten languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
This weekend I took myself out of my comfort zone and I read a book that I never would have read before, had I not been wanting to try something new. In doing so, I found I had a passion for more of the classics that I never gave a second glance; a love of the ageing character, Atticus Finch; and an appreciation for an author whom I had never really thought anything about before reading her book.
Told from the witty and honest narrative of a young girl wise beyond her years, I never once felt put off or felt my enjoyment hindered by Scout’s age; instead, I was endeared towards her and her frank and intuitive view on her town and the people within it.
In fact, I think had the story been told by an adult, I don’t think it would have worked quite as well. As pointed out in the book, sometimes, it takes a child’s perspective to really get the point across, and I think Scout not only got the point across, but really drilled it home.
Having spent the last three years almost exclusively reading contemporary romance, To Kill A Mockingbird has shown me why the classics really are classics, and why they will never go out of style. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world of characters and stories that I cannot wait to become acquainted with, and it all started with the undoubtedly talented Harper Lee.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that everybody–no matter of age, sex, race, or religion–should read, if not for the simple fact that it is a truly fantastic piece of literary fiction, then for the profound message it delivers in such a way that it ensures it will never be forgotten.
A book I am sure to never grow old of, and an instant favourite.
“Atticus, he was real nice.”
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”
Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year’s wages with a note: “You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.”
Within a year, she had a first draft. Working with J. B. Lippincott & Co. editor Tay Hohoff, she completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959. Published July 11, 1960, the novel was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a poll by the Library Journal.