Let’s just get all of this out of the way right now: No, I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird before. No, I did not have to read it in high school. Yes, I went to a normal high school. I don’t know why I didn’t have to read it. Anymore repetitive, asinine questions?? No? Good. The answers are now a matter of public record, so no one can ask me any of that ever again without getting redirected to the blog. Now let’s get down to business.
Some books are classics seemingly only because people are continuously forced to read them. It’s like group bonding through shared suffering, and has little to do with the actual merits of the book (I’m looking at you Great Gatsby, and Madame Bovary). This is not one of those books.
In case you don’t know, To Kill a Mockingbird is about a white family living in a small Southern town in the 1930′s. The whole story is told from the point of view of the youngest child, Scout. The father is a lawyer, who is court-appointed to defend a black man against rape charges from a white woman.
Much of the book focuses on racial issues of the time period, and has often been banned for that reason. Yes, there is offensive language, but everything about it, including the way black people are treated in the town, is accurate to the sentiments at the time; there are probably still people in the deep south that feel that way to this day. The book shows the injustice and indignities black people have had to endure, and the entire book is dedicated to erradicating these wrongs. I have no idea why people would want to ban a book that is completely in favor of equality for all people. It just goes to show that people get distracted by bad language, and miss the point entirely when they focus on such useless minutea.
The plot builds slowly, according to modern standards, but the entire length is absorbing. The plot of the trial is skillfully woven through the entire novel, just hints and bits at first, until your shoulders are tense with anticipation of the verdict. Every part of the book has a purpose, and is written both fluidly, and realistically.
On the Clever Chick Scale this gets a “This book redeems the term ‘Classic’”. Oh, and I’m keeping it. Find your own copy!