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To Kill a Mockingbird

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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 forty 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.

323 pages, Paperback

First published July 11, 1960

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About the author

Harper Lee

77 books13.6k followers
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served on the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.

After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944-45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945-50), pledging the Chi Omega sorority. While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, "Ramma-Jamma". Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.

Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.

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.

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5 stars
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810,536 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 118,224 reviews
Profile Image for leynes.
1,158 reviews3,196 followers
March 24, 2022
/// gentle reminder that this is not the time to read this book ///

This is my first re-read of 2017, and I don't regret it one bit. When I first read this book three years ago, I really liked it. Sadly, I didn't write my thoughts down in an elaborate way back in the day, but I know for sure, that I didn't read critically then. Upon my re-read of this book, I honestly don't have good things to say. I am aware that some of my criticism is not a critique of the book itself, but about its perception, and how it is, up to this day, held up as the one true book about race relations in the United States of America.

And that really infiruates me. This book was written by a white woman, from a white perspective, about white characters, for a white audience. This book is a pat on the back for the white middle class. This book gives comfort to the white middle class. Comfort that they, especially back in the 1960s, didn't need, and allow me to be so bold, didn't deserve.

Harper Lee's focus is purely white. While the white characters in this book are the subjects, who take action into their own hands, who suffer and make sacrifices, the Black characters in this book are objects. They have little to no agency. Things happen to them. They are harmless, defenseless, and just there – waiting for the white knight hero, Atticus Finch, to save them. This book is a disgrace in the face of the Black liberation movements that existed back in the day, and the solidarity within Black communities. Black people stood up for themselves and fought for their rights, and only due to their voices, their protests, their sit-ins, their marches, their demonstrations, their conferences, was racial segregation made unconstitutional in the United States.

Black people, back then and now, know that Atticus Finch doesn't exist. And because no one put in better words than the one and only James Baldwin, I will quote a passage from one of his amazing interviews on the Dick Cavett Show in 1968. One could say that this is Baldwin's response to the cry of "not all white people":
James Baldwin: I don't know what most white people in this country feel. But I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions. I don't know if white Christians hate Negroes or not, but I know we have a Christian church which is white and a Christian church which is black. That says a great deal for me about a Christian nation. [...] I don't know whether the labor unions and their bosses really hate me - that doesn't matter - but I know I'm not [allowed] in their union. I don't know whether the real estate lobby has anything against black people, but I know the real estate lobby is keeping me in the ghetto. I don't know if the board of education hates black people, but I know the textbooks they give my children to read and the schools we have to go to. Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith, risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children on some idealism which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.
This right here is what I'm talking about. To Kill A Mockingbird plays into this idealism. Although the book touches on the horrors of racism in the Deep South, it’s a strangely comforting read. A terrible injustice is done, but at the end the status quo is reassuringly restored. The final message is that most (white) people are nice when you get to know them.

As a reader you are never allowed to feel with Tom Robinson, the Black man who is innocently convicted for raping a white woman, because all the Black characters in this tale are sidelined. This story should be about them, because how else would you be able to convince the white moderate (in the 1960s) that Black people are actually people. The closest insight we get to a Black character is the family's cook Calpurnia. Calpurnia is in the fictional tradition of the "happy black", the contented slave – the descendent of the ever-loyal Mammy in Gone With the Wind. And the rest of the Black community is depicted as a group of simple, respectful folk – passive and helpless and all touchingly grateful to Atticus Finch – the white saviour. We never see any of them angry or upset. We never see the effect of Tom Robinson’s death on his family up close – we don't witness Helen, Tom's wife, grieving and Scout never wonders about his children. Their distress is kept at safe distance from the reader.

I was very angry after finishing this book, and I'm still angry up to this day. Not necessarily at Harper Lee, but at our society as a whole, and at our educational system. Why do we constantly uplift white narratives, whilst brushing over marginalized ones? Why aren't our kids reading If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin – a book dealing with the exact same topic (a Black man getting falsely accused of raping a woman)? Why isn't Lorraine Hansberry required reading? Why are we still relying on white narratives, when talking about Black people and their struggles?

Since finishing this book, I started reading The History of Legal Education in the United States and I wanted to share some interesting facts, because I couldn't believe how absurd To Kill A Mockingbird was. This story is, supposedly, set in the Deep South in the 1930s, where Atticus Finch, our white saviour, takes it upon himself to defend a Black man at court. By the end of Lee's novel we are led to believe that Atticus had a great chance of actually getting Tom Robinson acquitted, if the latter had just been a "good n*gger" and didn't try to escape on his own. (Yes, I'm a little petty. I swear, I'm not turning bitter over this.) So, I just wanted to know how realistic that scenario is. All of the information is related to the 1930s Southern setting. Here's what I've learned:

Most Southern lawyers readily accepted Black clients for routine economic cases – property, tort, contract, dept, insurance – and minor criminal cases that did not threaten the South's system of racial hierarchy. It was virtually impossible, however, to find a Southern white lawyer who would accept a major criminal case involving a white victim or a politically charged case that in any way challenged segregation.

Only the combination of direct action, community organizing and legal strategy with the help of Black lawyers, made the defense of Black men and women at court possible. In the Lockett-case, the Black community in Tulsa survived largely because Black lawyers were able to defend the community's interests. In 1934, Black lawyers represented George Crawford, a Black man accused of brutally murdering a wealthy white woman – no white lawyer would take Crawford's case. In the end, Crawford got a sentence of life imprisonment instead of a death sentence. And this verdict had to be seen as an accomplishment by the Black lawyers and the Black community as a whole, because life imprisonment was as good as it was going to get.

Oftentimes, Black lawyers took serious criminal cases without a fee or at a very reduced rate. This was well appreciated by their communities, but also a given. It is admirable how well Black communities were organized. None of that got translated on the pages of Lee's novel. The Black characters do absolutely nothing, except sending Atticus food, because they're so grateful. [*insert snort here*]

This book appears to uphold the standard of racial equality; de facto it is about the white middle class patting themselves on the back for not thinking racist thoughts. I'm sorry to break it to you, Miss Maudie, but you won't get a sugar cookie for that. I am not saying that this is not a realistic portrayal of the white middle class, it is, it totally is. If you do just a little research on the Civil Rights movement, the moral apathy of the white middle class becomes crystal clear. However, we shouldn't portray these characters in a positive light, there is nothing admirable about them. After all...
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against is really cooperating with it.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.7k followers
May 24, 2011

6.0 stars. I know I am risking a serious “FILM AT 11” moment and a club upside the head from Captain Obvious for voicing this, but nabbit dog I still think it needs to be said…TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT American novels ever written. Okay, I said it, and I will wait patiently while you get your DUHs and DERs out of the way and hang your “no shit” signs outside for Inspector Holmes.

Okay, now given the gruntload of reviews/ratings this book has I know I’m not the first person to wag my chin about how amazing it is. Still, I am going to chance coming off like that annoying dingleberry at the tail end of a huge porcelain party because I truly have a pile of love for this book. …(Sorry for taking the metanalogy there just now, but I promise no more poop references for the rest of the review)... So if my review can bring a few more people into the Atticus Finch Fan Club, I will be just flush with happy.

On one level, this book is a fairly straight-forward coming of age story about life in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression. It has a very slice of lifesaver warmth and simplicity to it that I think resonates with a lot of readers. It certainly does with me and I think the adjective “charm” may have been invented to describe the novel.

Despite how easing flowing the narrative is, this book is both extremely and deceptively powerful in its discussion of race, tolerance and human decency. Most importantly, this book shows us by example the courage to stand all up in the grill of injustice and say “Not today, Asshole! Not on my watch.”

That is a lesson that I think we can never be reminded of too often. When bad people do bad things to good people, the rest of us good people need to sack up and be counted regardless of how scary it might be. Easier said then done, I know. But at least that should be the standard to which we strive.

Atticus Fitch is the epitome of that standard. He is the role model to end all role models and what is most impressive is that he comes across as such a REAL person. There is no John Wayne/Jack Bauer/Dirty Harry cavalry charging BSD machismo about him. Just a direct, unflinching, unrelenting willingness to always do what he thinks is right. As Atticus’ daughter Scout puts it so well:
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.
I was to make something crystal before going on because it is an important part of my love of this story. Notwithstanding this book's powerful, powerful moral message, it never once…ever…comes off as preachy or heavy handed. There is no lecture to be given here. The only sermon we are privy to is the example of Atticus Finch and the simple yet unwavering strength and quiet decency of the man. Even when asked by his daughter about the horrendous racism being displayed by the majority of the townsfolk during a critical point in the story, Atticus responds with conviction but without:
"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
This is a special story. Oh, and as a huge bonus…it is also an absolute joy to read. Lee’s prose is silky smooth and as cool as the other side of the pillow. Read this book. Read it with your children, read it with your spouse, read it by yourself….read it the bigoted assclown that you work with or see around the neighborhood…Just make sure you read it. It is a timeless classic and one of the books that I consider a “life changer.” 6.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!!

BONUS QUOTE: This is Scout talking to Atticus after getting to know someone she had previously be afraid of:

“ ‘When they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things . . . Atticus, he was real nice. . . .’ His hands were under my chin, pulling up the cover, tucking it around me. ‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.’ He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”(Emphasis added)
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews162k followers
December 10, 2020
Looking for a new book but don't want to commit? Check out my latest BooktTube Video: One & Done - all about fabulous standalones!

Now that you know this one made the list - check out the video to see the rest!

The Written Review :

If you haven't read this as an adult - pick it up today
I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.
I (along with millions of other kids) first read this in grade-school. And I (along with those millions) didn't really get the point.

I remember thinking, Well... I already know discrimination is wrong. I don't get why I have to read a book about it...

Oh Lordy, if I could go back in time...

Rereading led to a (unsurprisingly) wholly different interpretation of this novel. I am in awe of Harper Lee and what she's written.

How could I have so completely missed the point back in fifth grade?
People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.
We follow Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, the daughter of Atticus Finch - a prominent lawyer. Scout narrates the great and terrible tragedies of her life - namely the trial of Tom - an upstanding "colored" man accused of raping a white woman.

Atticus is appointed to defend Tom and soon, nearly the whole town turns against the Finch Family.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
Much like Scout, I was simply too young to understand much of what was going on the first time through.

I tell you, there were so, so many moments this time through where the light bulb turned on and everything just clicked.
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash
My entire life, I never truly understood why this was such a classic, why people read it over and over, and why this (of all books) is forced upon kids year after year. I get it now. And I'm disappointed that I hadn't reread it sooner.

P.s. Sorry to my teachers for being such a sulky kid - they sure picked a great one. I was just so enthralled with reading other things that I didn't read this one as well as I should've.
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.

Audiobook Comments
Exceptionally well-read by Sissy Spacek. I felt like I was in the story. If you are itching for a reread - pick up the audio!

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews149 followers
July 1, 2022
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird one of the best-loved stories of all time, is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960.

It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature.

The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1936, when she was 10 years old.

The story is told by the six-year-old Jean Louise Finch.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هشتم از ماه آوریل سال1994میلادی

عنوان: کشتن مرغ مینا؛ نویسنده: هارپر لی؛ مترجم: فخرالدین میررمضانی، تهران، توس، سال1370، در378ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، امیرکبیر، سال1390، در414ص؛ شابک9789640013816؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، علمی فرهنگی، سال1393، در378ص؛ شابک978600121573؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

مترجم دیگر: بابک تیموریان، تهران، ناس، سال1390، در504ص، شابک9789649917733؛

مترجم دیگر: روشنک ضرابی، تهران، انتشارات میلکان، سال1394، در360ص، شابک9786007845196؛

باور کردنی نیست، تا روز بیست و هشتم ماه دسامبر سال2015میلادی یا همان روز هشتم دیماه سال1395هجری خورشیدی، تنها در گودریدز بیش از سه میلیون کاربر همین کتاب را ستاره باران کرده اند؛ در تاریخ ششم ماه فوریه سال2020میلادی برابر با روز هفدهم ماه بهمن سال1398هجری خورشیدی این تعداد به4,184,604؛ مورد رسیده است؛ «مرغ مینا» پرنده‌ ای کوچک است، که توان تقلید صدا دارد، «مرغ مقلد» هم، صدای پرندگان دیگر را تقلید میکند؛

کتاب «کشتن مرغ مقلد»، نوشته ی بانوی روانشاد «هارپر لی»، که با عنوان: «کشتن مرغ مینا» در «ایران» منتشر شده، نخستین بار در جهان در سال1960میلادی، به نشر سپرده شد، یکسال بعد، جایزه ی پولیتزر را برد؛ در سال1962میلادی نیز، «رابرت مولیگان»، فیلمی با اقتباس از متن همین کتاب ساختند، و در همان سال، ایشان هم توانستند، سه جایزه اسکار را، از آن خود کنند؛ فیلم جایزه ی بهترین بازیگر مرد را برای «گریگوری پک»، و جایزه های بهترین کارگردان هنری، و بهترین فیلمنامه ی اقتباس شده را، از آن خود کرد؛ بد نیست بیفزایم، خانم «هارپر لی»، تا یک دو سال مانده به پایان عمر پرفروغ خویش، تنها همین رمان را نوشته بودند، براساس واگویه ای از ایشان، بنوشته اند (در عصری که همه ی مردمان «لپ ‌تاپ»، «موبایل»، و «آی پاد» دارند، اما ذهنهاشان، همچون یک اتاق، خالیه؛ ترجیح میدهم، وقتم را با کتابهایم سپری کنم.) پایان نقل

ایشان در سال2007میلادی نیز، نشان آزادی را، از دست «رئیس جمهور آمریکا»، دریافت کردند؛

نقل از متن کتاب: (حواستون باشه کشتن مرغ مقلد گناهه؛ این را برای نخستین بار از «اتیکاس» شنیدم، که انجام کاری گناه داره، واسه همین هم به خانوم «مودی» گفتم؛ اون هم جواب داد پدرت درست گفته، مرغ مقلد، هیچکار نمیکنه، تنها برایمان میخونه، تا لذت ببریم؛ با تمام وجودش هم برامون میخونه؛ واسه همین هم کشتنش گناه داره) پایان نقل

هشدار: اگر کتاب را میخواهید بخوانید، از خوانش چکیده، پرهیز کنید

چکیده: «اسکات» و «جیم»، خواهر و برادر کوچکی هستند، که مادرشان سالها پیش از درب این سرای فانی بگذشته است، آن دو با پدرشان «اتیکاش»، در شهر کوچکی زندگی میکنند؛ پدر وکیل شهر هستند، و برای انسانیت، و باورهای مردمان احترام میگذارند؛ ایشان هماره کوشش میکند تا فرزندانش را انسان بار آورد؛ داستان از زبان کودک، و به زیبایی روایت میشود، قرار است یک سیاهپوست به نام: «تام»، به جرم تجاوز به دختری سفیدپوست، محاکمه شود، در حالیکه معلوم است، «تام» آن کار را نکرده است، و «آتیکوس» می��واهد، از ایشان دفاع کند، مردمان شهر، بر علیه «آتیکوس» هستند، و ایشان به عنوان یک پدر، میخواهند فرزندانش، در شرایط دشوار درست رفتار کنند؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 19/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews816 followers
October 25, 2009
Why is it when I pick up To Kill A Mockingbird , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay.

Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes place in Alabama and mostly in the summer, well there is that one climatic scene on Halloween, but I bet it’s still hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey.

It must be the school thing, my daughter just finished reading it, prompting me to give it another go, to fall back into Scout’s world and pretend to be eight and let life simply be.

How is that? How can life for Scout be simple? I mean, she lives in the south, during the depression, she has to deal with ignorant schoolteachers and town folk, her ideas of what is right, what is what it should be are laughed at by her schoolmates… man, and I thought my childhood was rough.

Still, she lives in this idyllic town, I mean, except for the racism and the creepy neighbors and the whole fact that it’s, you know, the south…(forgive me… I’m not immune to the downfalls of the north, I mean, we had witches and well, Ted Bundy was born here…) But, there’s this sense of childlike innocence to this book that makes me believe in humanity… even in the throes of evil. What am I saying here? I guess, that this is a good pick me up.

What I also get from this book is that I have severe Daddy issues. I consume Atticus Finch in unnatural ways. He is the ultimate father; he has the perfect response for every situation. He is the transcendent character. My heart melts at each sentence devoted to him and I just about crumble during the courtroom scene.

Am I gushing? I sure am. I was raised by a man who thought that Budweiser can artwork was the epitome of culture. That drinking a 6-pack was the breakfast of champions. That college was for sissies. He could throw out a racial slur without a single thought, care or worry to who was around. I won't even get into the debates/rantings of a 16 yr old me vs a 42 yr old him... What a role model.

So, I thank Harper Lee for giving me Atticus. I can cuddle up with my cider and pretend that I’m basking in his light. I can write this blurb that makes sense to maybe a handful but that is okay, I am approved of and all is good.
Profile Image for may ➹.
510 reviews2,368 followers
December 17, 2020
I had a much longer review written for this book, but the comments were sadly annoying me. so I’ll just make my opinions clear in two sentences, because these are really the only thoughts about the book that matter to me:

I was extremely bored by the majority of this novel and thus I did not enjoy it very much (and no, I will not reread it because I do not care). most importantly, though, I don’t believe a white savior narrative like this one is a story that should be so heavily defended by white people or pushed as an essential book in school curriculum today when there are better books about racism by people who have actually experienced it, and especially when this book cares more about the white characters than the Black ones!
8 reviews10 followers
April 18, 2012
While the plot was very gripping and well-written, the book didn't actually instruct me on how to kill a mockingbird. I bought this book intending to do away with this obnoxious bird that's always sitting in my backyard and making distracting noises. I had hoped this book would shed some light on how to humanely dispose of the bird, but unfortunately it was this story about a lawyer and a falsely-accused criminal. As I said, the plot is great but nowhere in the book does it say exactly how to kill a mockingbird.
Profile Image for Brina.
1,037 reviews4 followers
March 11, 2019
With endless books and infinitely more to be written in the future, it is rare occasion that I take the time to reread a novel. As women’s history month is upon us (2019), I have kept revising my monthly lineup to feature books by remarkable women across the spectrum. Yet, none of these nonfiction books pay homage to the writers of the books themselves. Even with memoirs, the prose focuses on the author’s achievements in her chosen field. Last week a goodreads friend and I paid tribute to women authors in a daily literary journal. In one of my friend’s posts, she pointed out that as recently as 1960, the author of the most endearing of American novels had to use a masculinized version of her name in fear of not being published. Nelle Harper Lee of Monroeville, Alabama published To Kill a Mockingbird under her middle name, so only those well read readers are aware of the author’s full name. It is in this regard, that I included Pulitzer and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Nelle Harper Lee in my Women’s History month lineup. It is as auspicious of a time as any to reread one of America’s greatest novels.

When I was in ninth grade English class, I read Harper Lee’s novel for the first time. At age fourteen I was hardly a polished writer and struggled with many of the assignments. Yet, I do remember that the top essay in the class focused on the overarching theme of courage and how Harper Lee showed how each of the characters, major and minor, embodied this trait in the trying times associated with the novel. It was courageous of a southern woman to write a novel with this subject matter prior to the passage of the civil rights act. It is of little wonder to me looking back now that she chose to publish under a gender neutral name. Perhaps, she feared a lynch mob or being outcast in her home town. It was a trying time as the federal government asserted itself against states still grieving from the war between the states and holding out as the last bulwarks of white superiority. Harper Lee exhibited as much courage as the characters in her novel, and rightfully was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her work. As such, being courageous starts from the top and works its way down to each and every character of this timeless work.

In 1930s rural Maycomb, Alabama people were pretty much set in their way of life. Town folk had received an education and worked as lawyers, doctors, bankers, and businessmen. The country folk may or may not have received an education because they had to work the fields and many were illiterate. Even the majority of those educated white folk still saw themselves as superior to blacks, and few, if any, had the audacity to take a black’s word over a white’s even if it were the correct moral thing to do. Yet, the crux of Lee’s novel is a court case threatening to disrupt this way of life, having the town divide along both racial and moral lines, and having each character step into others’ shoes and view the world from another’s perspective. Maycomb at the time embodied many rural American cities, isolated from progress as town set in its ways with few people who were willing to see the world from another perspective. One man was, however, a lawyer named Atticus Finch who is among the most revered fictional characters ever created. Even though this court case should not have been his, his superiors selected Atticus to counsel a black defendant because they realized that he was the one man in Maycomb who had both the ability to empathize and the courage to do so. His neighbor Mrs Maudie Atkinson noted that Atticus was the same man in the court house as he was at home and had nothing to fear. A widower, he instilled these values to his children Jeremy Atticus (Jem) and Jean Louise (Scout) from a young age, passing a strong moral compass onto his children.

In addition to critiquing southern race relations, Lee’s novel has endeared itself to children with the legend of Boo Radley. From the time they were young, Jem, Scout, and their summer friend Dill had courage to go to the Radley house trying to get Boo to come out even though all the other kids said the house was spooked. Atticus told them to put a halt to these childish games and explained Boo Radley’s background to them. The town claimed that Boo Radley was a ghost, but perhaps the reason he did not leave the house is because he did not want to. As the children grew older, Atticus warned them that there would be darker times ahead and they would have to be courageous in the face of what people said to them behind their backs. From the time Scout began school in first grade, she inhibited Atticus’ ability to stand up for what was right. Her teacher Miss Robinson was new to Maycomb and did not understand people’s ways. Scout explained about the Cunninghams, the Ewells, as well as other families at a personal cost to herself. As Scout grew older and was able to step into other people’s’ shoes more, she grew to understand differences between folks; however, she and Jem realized that differences did not make the world distinctly black and white or right and wrong. During an era when children were looked upon as unintelligent, Scout and Jem were wise beyond their years and following in their father’s footsteps.

Harper Lee created strong archetypal characters and had each embody their own courage. Each’s courage allowed Atticus to teach his children a life lesson that would endure for the rest of their lives. The family’s neighbor Mrs. Henry Lafayette DuBose demonstrates courage as she battles a final illness. Third grade teacher Mrs. Gates exhibits courage as she teaches Scout’s class about the rise of Nazism in Germany and th encourages her students to think for themselves about the differences between prejudices at home and abroad. The African American characters all demonstrate strong courage as well. The Finch’s housekeeper Calpurnia is a bridge between the white and black communities of Maycomb and does not hesitate to teach Scout and Jem life lessons as they arise. The Reverend Sykes welcomes Jem and Scout into his congregation as though they were his own and invites them to sit in the colored balcony at time when segregation was still the law. He risked a lynching and knew that the Finch family could possibly be labeled as negro lovers, yet Reverend Sykes played a small role in proving that one’s skin color should not determine whether someone is right or wrong. Of course, as part of the overarching story line, Boo Radley can be viewed as the most courageous character of them all. It is through the courage of an author to create characters who will stand up for what is morally right at a large cost to themselves that she created an award winning novel that was ahead of its time for its era. It is little wonder that the courage of these fictional characters has made the novel as beloved as it is today.

I believe that the courage exhibited by all these characters has made the town of Maycomb, Alabama stand the test of time and remain the timeless classic that it is. Most people can relate to those who have the courage to stand up for what they think is right or to fight against those tougher than them. This character trait has endeared the Finch family to millions of readers and will continue to do so for generations to come. Whenever a person asks what book would you give as a gift or what is the perfect book, To Kill a Mockingbird is my first choice. I find that it is perfect for any time but most appropriate in spring as in addition to courage there is an underlying theme of hope. Harper Lee won the Pulitzer for this timeless classic, and it also won first place in the Great American Read as America’s best novel. Thus I can think of no better way to honor women’s history month than with a timeless book that has and will continue to capture the hearts and minds of all of its readers.

5+ stars/ all-time favorites shelf
Profile Image for Lit Bug.
160 reviews472 followers
May 4, 2015
In the course of 5 years, I’ve read this book nearly 17 times. That adds up to reading it once at least every 4 months, on an average. And I still return to this book like a bark seeking a lighthouse in the dark. When I first finished it, I was so overwhelmed by how much I related to it, I read it nearly 8 times before the year ended. By now I’ve memorized almost every scene and I still can’t shake off the feeling that I still have to learn a lot from it. Over the years, I realize that without knowing it, it has become my personal Bible – a beacon to keep me from straying from the path of kindness and compassion, no matter what.

With its baseless cruelty and what Coleridge poetically referred to as motiveless malignity, the world is in need of much motiveless kindness – a rugged determination to keep the world a quiet haven and not the callous, cruel place it constantly aspires to be.

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of those rare books that doesn’t give in to the belief that ”deep down, everybody’s actually good.” Not everybody is. And we must still persevere to see things from their perspective, and though we may not justify their ways, we must strive to understand them – though we might not follow them, we must try to be as kind to them as possible. And yet, there comes a time when some people need to be put down – we must follow the call of our conscience then, and yet be kind to them in the process, as much as we can.

Striving to follow this dictum, I have realized how difficult it is to be kind to others when I find I’m right. It is so easy to put down others bluntly, it is so easy to be critical and fair, but so difficult to consider for a moment what the other might be going through. How convenient it is to dismiss the hardships of others and say, “They had it coming!” and unburden our conscience of the probable guilt that perhaps we’ve been a bit too harsh.

How simple it is to stereotype people, classify them neatly into convenient square boxes and systematically deal with them based on those black-or-white prejudices! Robe a prejudice in the opaque, oppressive garment called Common Sense and display boldly the seal of Social Approval and you’ve solved the biggest difficulty of life – knowing how to treat people.

And yet, nothing could be farther than the truth. Rarely are people so simple as they seem. In Wilde’s words, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” For you never know when a grumpy, rude, racist Mrs. Dubose might be fighting her own monsters or Ewell be, in fact trying to protect the last vestiges of honor he has, or Aunt Alexandra only trying to advocate the least painful way of life. And though we might not agree with any of them, like Atticus, we must see them for their peculiar situations and grant them a little leeway, make a little corner for them too, and yet, stand up for what is right in defiance of them.

It is this tricky rope-walking balance between prejudice and common sense, kindness and firmness, and justice and leeway that spurs me to revisit this little book every time I seem to falter. While I find it difficult to keep my cool in the midst of flagrant injustices and ensuing pain, I strive to strike a balance between giving in to despair and becoming too optimistic; between becoming indifferent, unkind, righteous and being compassionate, considerate. It is what keeps me from becoming paranoid or cynical with the unceasing drone of passivity, callousness, overwhelming prejudice and unyielding customs while still being alive to the pain of those very people I do not necessarily agree with.

In a country like India with its bizarre, incomprehensible equations and sequestrations of religion, class, caste, region, language, race, gender, sexuality and education, it takes a whole load of effort not to blow up one’s mind – people will kill each other over anything and everything. They’ll hate each other, isolate each other and cook up stories amongst themselves and leave it floating in the air. It takes every ounce of my energy not to hate my land and its majority people viciously. Yes, viciously.

But you see, I’ve got so much to learn to survive here – I have to stand up for myself when there will be hordes banging upon my door telling me to shut the hell up. And I’ll have to muster all the courage I have to tell them to go f*** themselves if they think I musn’t transcend the limits set for me. But I also have to learn not to hate them. Even if it sounds silly.

I know for one, Lee – I don’t care if you never wrote another work. I don’t care if Capote helped you write it, as many say. I’m glad somebody wrote this book, and somebody assigned this book as syllabus when I needed it the most. Five years ago, I hadn’t even heard of it. I read it in a single sitting. And then I read it several times over, taking my time, pondering over every page. I still do so. It is my favorite book ever.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
634 reviews5,757 followers
November 18, 2023
This is one book that I think is more relevant today than when it was first published.

I love how Scout is adamant about who she is. Others keep trying to tell her who to be, what it is to be a female. However, she wants to play, get dirty, run around with her brother. She couldn't care less about wearing dresses and sitting perfectly upright in a chair with knees pressed together in shoes you can't walk in.

Incredible to imagine that this was published before the internet.

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Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books80.8k followers
November 12, 2015
So... I don't really know what to say.

I think I loved this book, but for a reason beyond my understanding, it never hooked me, and it took me AGES to finish it! Some chapters (especially at the beginning) were tedious and hard for me to get through them... but then there were some chapters that I devoured (the whole Tom Robinson trial and the last ones).

I definitely learned a lesson or two from this book. Atticus is my new role model, he is really incredible. I also love Scout and Jem, those kids will be in my heart forever. Oh! And I loved the Boo Radley storyline, it left me in awe.

This book surely deserves 5 solid stars, and I kinda feel bad for giving it 4 stars, but the thing is... I was struggling to finish it, I swear I let out a relieved sigh when I read the last sentence.

But all in all, it was a great read <3. And can't tell you how much I loved the last chapters, .
Profile Image for Jayson.
2,267 reviews3,635 followers
April 25, 2024
(A-) 83% | Very Good
Notes: On ugly truth, fading youth, dead appeals, courage, morals, community quarrels and fallible humans spoiling ideals.

*Check out progress updates for detailed commentary:
Profile Image for Nataliya.
855 reviews14.2k followers
April 25, 2023
Life gives you a few things that you can count on. Death (for all), taxes (for most), and the unwavering moral character of Atticus Finch (for me). "What would Atticus do?" is not just a meme; for eleven-year-old me it became a real consideration after I feigned an illness to cut school and stay home to finish To Kill a Mockingbird — while a decidedly non-Atticus-like move, choosing Harper Lee's book over sixth grade math was probably a wiser life choice.
For my thoughts on the shameless money grab by the money-greedy publishers recently published first draft of the novel inexplicably (or read: cash grab) marketed as a sequel... Well, I think I just said it all.
I cannot be objective about this book - I don't think you can ever be about the things you love. I've read it many times as a child and a few times as an adult, and it never lost that special something that captivated me as a kid of Jem Finch's age.

“[...] Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
To me, this book is as close to perfect as one can get.

It found a place in school curriculum because of its message, undoubtedly - but it's not what makes it so powerful. After all, if you have even a speck of brains you will understand that racism is wrong and you should treat people right and that “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.”

No, what makes it wonderful is the perfect narrative voice combining adult perspective while maintaining a child's voice, through which we glimpse both the grown-up woman looking back through the lessons of years while still seeing the unmistakable innocence and incorruptible feistiness of young Scout Finch. And then there is the magic of the slow measured narration painting the most vivid picture of the sleepy Southern town where there's enough darkness lurking inside the people's souls to be picked up even by very young, albeit quite perceptive children.
"If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time. It's because he wants to stay inside.”
And then there's Atticus Finch. Yes, there may be countless articles all fueled by Lee's first draft about his 'transformation' into a bigot - but I refuse to jump on that bandwagon. I stand behind him the way Lee developed him in the book she *did* publish. Because I sleep better knowing that there are people out there who are good and principled and kind and compassionate, who will do everything they can with the utmost patience to teach their children to be decent human beings.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
What shines in this book the most for me is the amazing relationship between parent and child. It's the amazing guidance that the Finch children get in becoming good human beings that many of us would give up a lot for. I know I would. Because to me it will never be a story of a white man saving the world (and some, especially with the publication of that ridiculous first draft, would dismiss it as such). To me, it's the story of a child growing up and learning to see the world with the best possible guidance. It's a story of learning to understand and respect kindness and forgiveness and that sometimes you do right things not just because you're told to but because they are right things to do.

I see enough stupidity and nonsense and injustice in this world. And after all of it, what I often do need is Atticus Finch and reassurance that things can be right, and that with the few exceptions, even if I struggle to see it, "[...] there's just one kind of folks. Folks." and that, disillusioned as we become as we go on in life, "Most people are [nice], Scout, when you finally see them.”

Five stars from both child and adult me.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,938 reviews3,042 followers
April 24, 2024
First of all, let's forget it's a 'classic' that we all 'must' read for the sake of reading a classic.

Second of all, let's have no inhuman high expectations from this book.

Third of all, it's enough to know that this has been written from the perspective of a six year old girl.

And that's how we should pick up this one and go for it like we are picking up a newly released book and seriously that's the way it should be for everyone I would like to say...like again!

I won't go into details regarding what the book is about.

*Why the 5 🌟 though:
The language is pretty simple and will stick with all kinds of reader till the end.
The flow is neat, clear and fast paced as a few characters are pretty mysterious and then there's some mystery element to the plot.
The characters are amazingly well-developed. Each and every character introduced has a clear role and has been given importance.
Subtle hints and sudden plot twists keep the pace rolling!
The character dynamics are the main highlights of this book.
Themes tackled are hugely impactful. It talks about race discrimination, child upbringing, justice, family and in general how one human should see another human as.
I cannot point out all the things I loved about this book at the moment but yes, this book is much, much more than the things I have mentioned above.
The warmth in the story narration is something I did not expect at all. I am genuinely surprised still.

Atticus will remain as one of my most loved, unforgettable characters. His character is so wholesome and someone to look up to.

The different emotions in between the lines are deep and I just couldn't ignore them. The humour is just incomparable. And yes, I gasped a lot in between regarding the unexpected turns in the story sequence.

The bond between the siblings, the kids and their father, the friendship and the neighborhood, kinship relationship have been so well depicted. And yes, the court room scenes are just dealt with amazingly. I would say almost perfectly but yes, even though the lines have been perfect and great, I somehow felt that a real courtroom would never have perfect dialogues like that. And not everyone would just nod their heads even though everything spoken was right.

Some scenes broke my heart. Some scenes made me really helpless. Some scenes made me want to save some of the characters so bad that I had to hold the book for minutes before continuing on.

The ending was perfect. There's closure. There's victory.

My reader soul has found another of its missing pieces!
July 23, 2020
Even in the evil times when John Crow ruled the South and the Blacks were scarcely more free than in times of slavery and were allowed no civic power nor respect from their erswhile masters who were White, good men did their best.

As regards this book, the last phrase is a lie.

Atticus, a lawyer and good and caring father, a moral man, represented a Black man accused of raping a White woman. He lost, but he'd done his best.

That last paragraph is a lie.

Atticus belonged to the KKK, thought that Blacks were a distinctly lower form of human life and that separate development (ie. apartheid) was the best way to go for these childlike people who didn't have the reasoning power to rule, he said in Go Set a Watchman.

That last paragraph is mostly a lie.

Atticus did belong to the KKK but he did not really think Blacks were a lower form of human life at all. That was just what he said for the benefit of others. He really thought their intellectual power and ability to organise was greatly to be feared. He was frightened that Whites would have to give up having a life of ease and wealth structured around the cheap labour Black people had no alternative but to provide. He didn't even want to have to consider them at all.

Atticus represented the accused Black rapist only because if a White lawyer didn't then he was sure the NAACP would send in a very clever Black lawyer and not only that but insist, since these times were officially 'free', that Black people sit on the jury. Then he would not be sure of a conviction. The Blacks then feeling their oats would move in to the town and start demanding rights and power much to the detriment of the extremely exploitative and racist Whites.

When Harper Lee wrote all this, in Go Set a Watchman her publishers were apparently horrified and got her to rewrite the book from the point of view of a decent man who felt racism was a great evil, we were all equal. Is this why Harper Lee never wrote another book? Did she feel that her views were unacceptable and she wasn't going to kow-tow to some liberal publishers up North who didn't understand the ways of the South? Is that why she didn't give interviews too? She'd followed the advice of her publishers, been lauded and rewarded but humiliated as an artist.

Schools still teaching this book as a moral lesson should incorporate their understanding of the first draft, Go Set a Watchman. Otherwise they are doing the children a disservice in their moral education and furthering the ideas of paternalism is better than self-determination, racism had its softer side and that ignoring the truth (Watchman) to tell a good story is a perfectly fine concept for educationalists to embrace. It's not.

Five stars because it is a very well-written and enjoyable book and hangs together with Go Set a Watchman perfectly.

Read years ago, probably about 1 Jan 2000
Profile Image for Baba.
3,770 reviews1,176 followers
July 20, 2023
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was Atticus' advice to Scout and Jim, before the onset of African American Tom Robinson's trial for the alleged rape of a white woman in a town in the Deep South, in the United States in the 1930s. A work of genius, of pure perfection, the best book I have ever read.

On every single level, this book is flawless.

Thank you Harper Lee.

FIVE STAR READ... 12 out of 12!!!!!!!

2010 and 2011 read
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,358 reviews3,275 followers
June 12, 2022

This is one of the most widely read books in the twentieth century. As most of us might have read this novel in high school, many emotions, including nostalgia, will come to our mind when we hear about the story of Maycomb and its denizens. This novel, set during the Great Depression, discusses a lot of vital topics like racism and sexual assault.

Atticus Finch is not just a hero for Scout, Jem, and the lawyers, but he is considered the hero of a whole generation. If you are someone who loves books, you might have already read this book. If you belong to the minority who haven't read it yet, I request you to try to include it in your reading list. This is one of the very few books about which I can confidently say that everyone should read.
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
Profile Image for Houston.
11 reviews34 followers
March 22, 2014
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”(p. 20)

I love this book and this idea of reading being like breathing. As Scout did, I read early too, and often. Every night before bed I would read and still do. I saw a Twilight Zone Episode once where the main character loved to read and only wanted to be left alone to do so. After falling asleep in the vault of the bank where he worked, he awoke to a post-disaster world where only he was left. He busily gathered together all the books he wanted to read, all organized and stacked up. Just as he chose one to start with, his glasses fell and he stepped on them trying to find them. It was terrible and I remember feeling horrified that this man would never get to read again! Such a thought had never occurred to me. This semester I had to get glasses myself after suffering migraines from reading. I was so nervous at the eye doctor because the thought of not being able to read was too much for me. Of course, I only needed readers, but when I ran across this quote, I thought about how much like breathing reading is for me.

“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” (p. 87)

Never say die! Fight the good fight no matter what! I love the anti-defeatist message in this quote. Even though Atticus knows the deck is stacked against him, he tries anyway. He understands that sometimes you have to fight the un-winnable fight just for the chance that you might win. It makes me think that what he’s trying to teach his children is never to give up just because things look dim.

“...before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.” (p. 120)

As Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” That’s really all that matters. At the end of the day, when you lay down, you have to know that you did the right things, acted the right way and stayed true to yourself. Again, Atticus understands that the town is talking; he has to explain to his kids why he continues against the tide of popular thought. He sums it up so well here.

“We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we had given him nothing, and it made me sad.”(p. 320)

I love the sad way this quote sounds. It is clearly the thoughts of a child, for hadn’t Scout just given Boo his dignity as they were walking home? Hadn’t she and Jem given him children to care for and watch over? But she knows too, even from her child’s perspective, that they could never give him anything close to what he had given them—their lives. It just sounds so beautifully sad.

Works Cited
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: HarperCollins, 2002. Print.
Profile Image for Petrik.
735 reviews52.2k followers
April 28, 2018
A short, important, and powerful classic that deserved all its fame.

This will be a short review, there’s nothing else I can talk about here that hasn’t been discussed for the past 50 years and more.

Racism, prejudice, rape, false accusation of rape, all of these are abhorrent and really should have never existed in the first place within our world and society. However, it does. I find it insanely sad that even though this book was published more than 50 years ago, has also been used as an educational book for countless young students and even with countless histories to learn from, it seems that some human will never ever learn from hem and the main problems depicted in this book is still very evident in our time.

“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.”

I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand how important the message this book tried to give when I was a kid; it bored the crap out of me and I didn’t make it to the exceptional court scene. Maybe same as the main character in this book, I didn’t truly understand the gravity of the situation yet when I was young. Now though? Let’s just say I realized why this book became one of the most highly famous and well-received classics.

One last thing, Atticus Finch is truly a role model to aspire to, as a father, a lawyer, and most of all, a human being; truly a well-written protagonist.

“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”

If it wasn’t for some part in the first half that bored me, this would’ve received a 5 stars. But if we’re speaking about the message to be taken from this book? this was without a doubt an important and wonderful short read.

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

Amazing job on writing this book, Harper Lee. May you rest in peace.

You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
497 reviews3,280 followers
May 6, 2023
Alabama in U.S.A., 1935 during the crippling bleak, Great Depression, Atticus Finch a widower, struggling lawyer and ultimate believer in justice for everybody, (a gentleman, if ever there was one) is raising two small children Scout, (Jean Louise) and Jem, (Jeremy) a typical American boy, he likes to have fun in the fictitious mostly quiet , small southern town of Maycomb. The siblings are unusually close, the father is absent often being a politician in the legislature, in Montgomery, the state capital. Calpurina their black servant, takes good care of them and they all love, is the real parent of the kids, and of course, considered a member of the family. Mr. Finch is a rather remote uncomfortable father, the children call him by his first name of Atticus. Scout age eight, a tomboy, Jem who's four years older than his precocious sister and friend Dill, (Charles Baker Harris) a year older than Scout but not as big, and is frequently bullied, are always together. Dill from Meridian, Mississippi, spends the warm summers at his Aunt Rachel's house in town and is gratefully left alone. Next door to the Finch's live the Radley family, a strange people that keep to themselves, particularly Boo, (Arthur) a legendary creepy, mysterious man , who is never seen, weird stories abound about him by the curious, neighborhood kids, they test their bravery, by how close they can come to Boo's house. The gentle, Mr.Finch shocks Scout and Jem when he shoots a mad dog at the sheriff's request, Mr. Tate, knows Atticus's skill, but curiously he doesn't even have a gun at home, never seen with one either. This sleepy town awakens when Bob Ewell a lazy, notorious drunk, accuses a black man Tom Robinson of raping his flirtatious daughter, Mayella. The honorable Judge Taylor appoints Atticus, as Robinson's lawyer, an impossible task in that era. The trial brings people from all over Maycomb County , to the courthouse , Atticus Finch shines, but can he free an innocent man ? This story implies every human, should be treated with dignity, no matter what the color of their skin, and after so many years have gone by , is still the best novel in urging equality for all, what a concept...
Profile Image for Rishi.
1 review
August 6, 2007
A friend of mine once commented that To Kill a Mockingbird was the most racist book he'd ever read.

I agree with him. Now, I know this book is drawn from the author's true experiences, but she choose to write a novel and thus I will judge it as a novel. With it's irrevocable integration into the American (and Canadian) public school curricula, I think this novel has probably done more to perpetuate racial stereotypes than any other single force.

If I had to sum up To Kill a Mockingbird in one sentence, this would be it: the poor helpless black man is lost until a saintly white man comes to his side to crusade for his cause. Unfortunately, the damn darkie is so stupid that he goes and gets himself killed just when the white man figured he had another shot at clearing him. Oh well, the white man tried his best, and for a negro too! What a hero.

What the hell is that?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews4,790 followers
February 5, 2023
Not that much has changed in 90 years

Except that the arguments aren´t direct racism anymore
Now it comes with much propaganda of right wing, neoconservative, and neoliberal politicians and news outlets to find ridiculous, unscientific, and sheer stupid and evil explanations of why the US is such a mess. Thereby the instances satirize themselves by trying to be politically correct, objective, and not too obviously hating, trolling, and warmongering against critical race theory, woke, and cancel culture. So the

Accepted racism transformed into things like
Not directly lynching black people without a fake trial, but instead giving them fair trials.
Black kids could go to each good private school if it wouldn´t be unaffordable.
No more redlining, everyone who can effort to live in a gated community, in the countryside, or in a suburb is free to do so
And so many other direct and indirect racist societal, governmental, and especially economic reasons. The neoliberal agenda is making it possible to

Change from direct hate speech to subtle, economic terror
Because that´s perfectly fine, no matter how many million US citizens and billion people around the world in the Southern hemisphere have to suffer for economic growth. See, the mechanisms behind this are so complex, avoided by close to all news media except for the ones far left, eco social, aka leftist, and thereby stigmatized and unimportant in the US and more in more in the EU too. Instead of the elite friendly, unscientific, and very bad humanities creating pop psychology, sociology, philosophy, and voodoo economy authors like Stephen Pinker
Hans Rosling
and all this other, ridiculous trash, one should try Chomsky, Paul Hawken, Silvia Federici, Bill McKibben, Colin Crouch, Klein, William McDonough, Jessica Valenti, Henry David Thoreau, John Perkins, Steward Brand, Rebecca Solnit, George Monbiot, Kendi Ibram X, Yanis Varoufakis, Shiva Vandana, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ziegler, Davis Angela Y, Rachel Carson, Brittney Cooper, Kristof Nicholas D, etc.
because that´s what´s really going on at the moment. They are what I love throwing into the faces of ignorant, brainwashed, hypocritical bigots. Because guess what,

The people trying to ban To kill a Mockingbird for decades are the same intolerant haters that truly believe in their emotions and faith instead of science, data, and progressive transformation

And that´s the most disturbing thing about this milestone of enlightening literature
One can look wherever one wants in the US and already the obvious problems like mass incarceration
Sexism and discrimination against black women
etc. are omnipresent.
But especially the Karens and other, pseudo democratic, wanna be progressive, and fringe mind opened people won´t ever touch such a topic with a pitchfork, they prefer to roll like:
Better do some demonstrative social work for social media or give a few dollars of the millions made thanks to exploitation. And avoid everything causing cognitive dissonances that could one let question ones´behaviour and its underlying psychopathological illogicality.
The suffering of so many people makes them very, very self righteously sad and they don´t like the elephant in the room behind that feeling. So better ignore it.

But, as I tend to say in my profile and to give myself some hope after this pretty downing review:
Collective intelligence, networking, and collaborative learning/researching lead to the unleashing of each one's full potential and the most sustainable and progressive transformation of human society. Be an enlightened, mindful, questioning, scrutinizing, emancipated part of it.

I don´t just believe in objective, hard science, but especially in using the amazing technology, we have to unite as freaking social justice warriors of the world.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,122 reviews46.6k followers
December 6, 2017
I’m not going to do my usual thing where I’d try to explain what I liked about this book. Normally, I would try to convince you why you should read it. I would speak about how important this book is and what message it could impart to its readers around the world. I would even say how it affected me personally. Today I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I will simply say that I loved this book. I loved its characters. I loved its plot. And I loved the eloquent way in which Harper Lee wrote it. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Her words are real and her story is truth.

This book is one of the wisest, most finely crafted, pieces of prose fiction I have ever read.

I didn’t want it to ever end.
February 19, 2023
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—” “Sir?” “—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

With ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ comes a story of racial injustice. One man’s struggle to defend a black man accused of raping a white girl, while teaching his children the values and morals that are important in life. A coming-of-age story where the children are forced to witness the worst and ugly side of human nature as they try to make sense of the world amidst such racism, aggression, intolerance, and hatred.

An epic story of good versus evil. A story of suppression but also hope. A book that educates, ridicule’s and even inspires. A book everyone should read in their lifetime.

The Plot

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel told from the perspective of Jean Louise Finch (Scout), who lives with her father Atticus and brother, Jem, in the fictional sleepy town of Maycomb, Alabama. Combine this with the era of the Great Depression of the 1930s, then you really have the perfect setting for such an epic story.

For all its simplicity and modest ways of living, the town folk harbour the worst of human traits that are exposed when Tom Robinson, a black man, is charged with raping a young white girl. Although innocent, Tom was guilty in the court of public opinion, even before the trial started, because when it came to colour “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for”.

In the book, single father of two, Atticus Finch takes on the case and with it stirs up the anger and resentment from the ‘mob’, who at one point are prepared to lynch him for defending a black man. When questioned by his daughter why he is representing Tom, Atticus’ response is so poignant and commendable.

“they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”…. if I didn’t represent Tom. “… I couldn’t hold up my head in town, I couldn’t represent this county in the legislature, I couldn’t even tell you or Jem not to do something again.”

How true is that… However, there is an inevitability about this story from the start because although Atticus had used every argument and tool available to save Tom Robinson in the courts, in the “secret courts of men’s hearts Atticus had no case”. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed, and an innocent life was lost.

Yet there is an innocence, coming of age and sense of decency and hope in this story that I confess to not fully grasping in my teens. I was so overwhelmed by the racism, injustice, and corruption that I failed to embrace the true beauty of this masterpiece and all its messaging.

Review and Comments

Apart from some distressing and painful themes, of racial inequality and injustice, what makes this book so affecting and poignant is the story being told through the eyes of a young girl who is trying to make sense of the world she is living in. One of the innocent ones!!!. Which brings me to the book title that makes more sense to me now as the Mockingbird had come to signify ‘innocence’ of the young Scout, Jem, and the innocent man accused of a crime he did not commit. However, in a story of so much evil and injustice there is also hope, bravery, and kindness.

Atticus represents morality, courage, and reason, and through his character and others like Calpurnia, Miss Maudie, and Boo Radley, we know all is not lost. The three children in the story learn the most humane and moral lessons from these righteous characters, who also happen to deliver the best lines and most affecting quotes for the reader.

The mob, and the characters of Mayella Ewell, the girl who accused Tom of rape and her father represent evil, racism, ignorance, prejudice, and cruelty. Even the hypocrisy of the church going community is not lost to the reader. Yet for all their bigotry they do not allow Bob Ewell to become the hero in the story. He is cast aside as ‘white trash’ because there was just one thing worse in their eyes and that was a black man who had ‘some’ contact with a white girl. The fact that this was instigated by her didn’t matter. Knowing he did not rape her mattered not at all. The black man was guilty.

A book that is so heart-breaking because events like this are / were real. Injustices like this happen in certain countries and in different sections of too many communities, and like the story the law although improving does not always deliver justice.

Poignant, heart-breaking, and deeply moving but also a beautifully written story where intolerance, and prejudice is often overshadowed with kindness, hope and courage. Stunning.

A highly recommended book.
Profile Image for Tim Null.
200 reviews125 followers
February 22, 2023
February 22, 2023

I finished the reread and increased the rating to 5.

Some quotes:

"Telling the turth is not cynical, is it?"

"It's not time to worry yet."

"...we're making a step -- it's a baby step, but it's a step."

February 20, 2023

Yesterday I started rereading To Kill A Mockingbird by listening to the audiobook narrated by Sissy Spacek. Today I got to where Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout, "Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird."

**** **** **** **** **** ****
Original review follows
**** **** **** **** **** ****
I read this in high school right after I saw the movie on TV. I don't remember much about the movie and even less about the book. I guess I'm due for a reread.
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,818 reviews944 followers
July 10, 2023
Me: "What impacted you the most when you read To Kill a Mockingbird?"
Sis: "Let me think... Probably Atticus, he was a great father to Scout."
Me: "Is it just me or does he remind you of our dad too?"
Sis: "Mmm... oh, yes, definitely."
Me: "Do you remember that anecdote of me coming back crying from school because the boys had bullied me for not looking like them, and he sat me down to explain all about that? Atticus explaining race to Scout is so like what he told me."
Sis: "Haha, yeah, he did things like that with me too. I was so nosy and asked him so many questions!"
Me: "Do you think he would've seen himself in Atticus Finch if he had read this book?"
Sis: nostalgic sigh "Yeah... But he'd say he would've been stricter with us girls. Not with you, he only threatened you with dire punishment!"

The above is part of a long conversation I had yesterday with one of my sisters, fourteen years my senior and with more memories of our father than I, because I needed to make sure I wasn't imagining things and it wasn't the rosy glasses of nostalgia what was making me see my father in Atticus Finch. She confirmed that, yes, he had been with me like Mr Finch was with Scout, and he had been like Mr Finch with her as well as to the next youngest sister, to all three amongst his daughters who were the closest to him. My father was like Atticus Finch, and taught me all about treating people, not getting into fights with schoolmates, not sneaking into the neighbours' orchards, to be nice to the old ladies, to understand race and never allow others make me feel uncomfortable about mine, to not spy on the "village idiot," to love books, to not touch guns I didn't know how to fire, to fish, swim, care for my little animals and my personal patch at the orchard . . . He was my hero, and the only person that could manage an active, inquisitive, scrapes-prone tomboy with too many questions and opinions for her own good.

I'm not used to seeing anything from my life in a book, I don't think I've ever found anything this relatable in any book, so To Kill a Mockingbird is extremely exceptional in this regard. They say that when you don't know how to review a book, go for what impacted you personally and unroll from there, and this is it for me. My father is no longer alive, but if anyone were to ask me what it was like for me with him, I'd have said it was like the father/daughter relationship in this book.

I could also say that the story itself is beautiful if bittersweet and tragic at times, that the characters are so well-done, that I liked the POV structure of telling the story through a child's eyes, with a child's voice and child's understanding of the world, but with enough mature evocative power that you understand far more than Scout does through the words she repeats without fully grasping the meanings. For example, in the courtroom scene, you are told just enough to understand what Scout doesn't about Mayella Ewell, the white girl who accuses Tom Robinson. It's this kind of understated horror barely buried under the surface that makes the narrative so much more powerful, in my opinion. Scout is so innocent because she's young and has been raised to expect the best from people, but you know there's rotten things in Maycomb. She expects justice with a child's faith, but you know this can't end but in tragedy.

And speaking of tragedy, the only complaint I have is that I believe the fate of Tom Robinson could've been different. The miscarriage of justice should've run its course and ended in the penalty he was sentenced to, to underscore just how deeply flawed and racist the trial had been, instead of having Tom , because that somehow makes it look like the ending is Tom's fault. A completely innocent man should've had a completely innocent end instead of giving them an "excuse," so that didn't sit well with me. Although, when I think on it some more, I can see how that ending also does highlight how tremendously unfair the whole case was, just not powerfully enough for me.

In any case, it's the Atticus/Scout dynamics what will always live in my memory from this book. Wish I could talk to my father once again and ask, "What does Appomattox mean?" and get a lecture on not reading books for adults without his permission right before I fell asleep on his lap thirty seconds into his long tale about the America in his Westerns.
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
97 reviews13.6k followers
January 31, 2020
English (To Kill a Mockingbird) / Italiano

«When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow»

Alabama. Early 1930s. The Great Depression. Maycomb, an imaginary town. Tom Robinson (black), falsely accused rapist. Atticus (white), lawyer instructed to represent him. Scout and Jem (white), sons of Atticus. Dill (white), friend of Jem and Scout. Calpurnia (black), maid from Atticus house. Arthur "Boo" Radley (white), mysterious neighbour. Mayella Ewell (white), victim of a sexual assault. Bob Ewell (white), father of Mayella. Take all the elements listed above, add racism, ignorance, humanity, mix them up and you get the masterpiece of Harper Lee.

Sponsored even by the former president of USA Barack Obama, the message of the novel gets loud and clear: do the right thing, bravely, at all costs.

Vote: 9


«Jem, mio fratello, aveva quasi tredici anni all’epoca in cui si ruppe malamente il gomito sinistro»

Alabama. Inizio anni 30. Grande depressione. Maycomb, cittadina immaginaria. Tom Robinson, nero, accusato ingiustamente di stupro. Atticus, bianco, avvocato incaricato di difenderlo. Scout e Jem, bianchi, figli di Atticus. Dill, bianco, amico di Jem e Scout. Calpurnia, nera, domestica al servizio di Atticus. Arthur "Boo" Radley, misterioso vicino di casa. Mayella Ewell, bianca, vittima di stupro. Bob Ewell, bianco, padre di Mayella. Prendete tutti gli elementi elencati, aggiungete il razzismo di alcuni, l'ignoranza di altri, l'umanità di altri ancora, mescolate tutto ed otterrete il capolavoro di Harper Lee.

Sponsorizzato finanche dall' ex-presidente degli USA Barack Obama, il messaggio del romanzo arriva forte e chiaro: fai la cosa giusta, a qualunque costo, con coraggio.

Voto: 9

Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,542 reviews51.9k followers
June 2, 2021
After watching Friends Reunion, I felt like going back my high school times to revisit my reading list and picked up my one of the all time favorite reads!

I am rereading this book at different timelines of my life and I always find something different to like, getting attracted by different details, changing my mind about which character is my favorite. Nope actually last thing is a total lie. I love Jean Louise Scout Finch. Her narration, her growing up, her innocent and curious mind made her reserve a special place on my heart. She’s the daughter of charismatic, righteous Atticus Finch who is one of the remarkable characters in the literature history, a prominent lawyer defending black man who is accused of raping a white woman which results with townies’ growing hatred against the entire family.

It’s a bold, well developed story takes place in Monroeville, Alabama on 1936! A quiet fascinating lesson of civics, lesson of history and lesson of ethics.

My fifth time reading goes smoothly and reminding me of how much I loved the story of small town, a country, townies, neighbors, brave criticism of racism.

If you prefer audibook option, Sissy Spacek did a hell of a great job!

Here are my favorite quotes :
“Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open”

“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."

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

"People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for."

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

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