Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

BBW: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hi there!
Welcome to a special weekend review here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  What makes it special?  Well, besides the fact that it features a fantabulous book you shouldn't miss, it bids farewell to the bookish celebration that is ALA Banned Books Week.


~waves goodbye~
Sad to see the official week close out today, but don't let that stop you from checking out all the banned books there are to discover because let's face it, we're all reading rebels in our own right and there are so many great books on that list to read....like today's little gem.

The feature of today's post will not surprise you.  It will not leap out and say BOO (ha, get it...Boo!  Oh wait, it'll make more sense in a minute).  It will not glimmer and shine as it descends into your hands from on high, delivered by the book fairy herself (cuz we all know she exists, right?).  What it will do is silently approach you in a casual manner just as the stranger you pass everyday without saying hello.  It will manage to become a new acquaintance and yet feel like you've known it forever.  It will remind you of what once was and should not be again.  Today's book of choice is....

To Kill a Mockingbird
by
Harper Lee

A terrible crime has been committed.  The people are ready to prosecute the criminal to the fullest extent of the law, but one man stands in their way...Atticus Finch.  Why?  He believes in the power of goodness and the might of the right, in this case...that the prevailing voice of the people is WRONG.  He does not believe the man whom he has been appointed to defend is guilty, nor do a handful of others giving their silent support.  Will that be enough to shine a light on the truth of the matter at hand?  Or will justice turn a blind eye to the plight of one persecuted in so many ways?  Lives hang in the balance...in more ways than one....

Okay, so reading back over my mini-synopsis there, I realize I made this classic novel sound like an every day mystery or thriller...which in some ways it is, but there is so much more.  Although a work of fiction, you have threads of history woven right in and clearly shown through the life, times, and crimes revealed.  The language used is both essential to the story reflecting the period they were in as well as the location (and believe me, deciphering some of the country speak is quite a challenge for this non-country girl). 

Believe it or not, this was my first time reading this book.  (I know, I know...gasp, shock and awe....)  It's not that we were entirely deprived of the experience in school as we did see parts of the movie (yep, only parts...at least that's all I remember seeing of it), but the book is a whole other experience altogether.  First of all, the thing you hear about the most when this novel is discussed (at least in the circles I have traveled) is the crime committed and the trial that ensues.  Much to my surprise, that really doesn't come into play in any serious way until just passed the mid-point of the novel.  Really!  Here I am thinking that most of the story is going to revolve around this particular event and wondering how on earth it's going to last for over 300 pages and BOOM....my presumptions are turned upside down. 

Your first taste of this story is in meeting the characters (both literally and figuratively as some even after being introduced are still "characters") and learning about their lives in this somewhat sleepy part of Alabama.  You see them as they work, play, fuss, and learn, each aspect giving them another shade to the color of their characterization.  It works wonders for putting imagined faces with names and demeanor's..and you can't help but develop a few favorites along the way.  Although many are quick to name Atticus as their favorite, and I can certainly see why as he is a perfectly admirable stand up gentleman that seems to have been cut from a different cloth than some of the townsfolk, I actually have a few other names on my list to note.  Scout for one...

Hers is the "voice" through which the story is narrated.  I loved her spunky nature, her willingness to fight the good fight, and the innocence she never seemed to lose despite the things she saw.  She kept a knowledge well beyond her years between her ears and yet was brought up well enough not to flash it every chance she had.  Another one to register on the "spunky" meter and make my favorites list would be Maudie Atkinson.  She was never really as mean as she made herself out to be and with that quiet reserve of power (that burst forth as she saw fit) she could move mountains.  Last but in no ways least (and actually not the last favorite, but the last I will mention here), Mr. Link Deas.  Surprised?  Well, if you've read the story, than you know just what kind of person he was....if you haven't, take it from me, he was not afraid to discern fact from fiction nor help out the family of one wrongly accused (sorry, don't want to spoil it).

Aside from the terrific cast of characters, you have a story that brings to light some of the evil that lurks in both our past as a nation and man in general but also some great examples of how justice can be served (just look at the ending...what a twist, and yeah, it certainly speaks to karma).  One of my favorite scenes takes place at the jail when Atticus was guarding Tom Robinson (the accused) and the mob approaches.  Not to put a total spoiler here, but when the children approach and Scout's words are heard...the resulting effect is so powerful.  She reminded them of their humanity in such a simple way and yet it was enough.  Wonderfully writing, simply great in my book.... 

So why was this book on the ALA's Banned Book list?  Simple really.  For the very same reasons that so many others are....the crime committed and the language used.  Now the language factor is not what you might think.  It's not curse words or the lot that appear, it's the use of derogatory word and phrases against those who are not white in skin color.  Were and are they vile terms?  Most certainly.  Were they really what was said in years the events are to have taken place?  Sadly, yes....but as it is history there is nothing that can be changed about it.  We can only move forward; learn from our mistakes and grow.  These reasons are some of the same that I considered when choosing this book for this month. 

October generally focuses on books that shock, scare, and horrify....well, our history...yeah, some of it is pretty horror filled.  It may  not have been directed at all people, but it affected everyone in some way.  The story shows some of the atrocities that man commits against man especially when things are not questioned that we feel in our hearts is wrong.  Being silenced for speaking the truth is certainly a scary thing in my book...

This year marked the 50th anniversary of this marvelous book so if you were like me and had not had a chance to read it as of yet, join in the celebration and join all the other reading rebels!  I'd love to hear what YOU think.  Special thanks to Amy at Harper Perennial for the review copy.  (THANKS!)  For more information on their catalog of books, visit their site, blog, or follow along on Twitter

Until next time...happy reading!



3 comments:

Melanie said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! It's one of my favorites. I think it's about time for a re-read for me.

GMR said...

Melanie: Yes...I agree! It's great to revisit your favorites... ^_^

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

This is one I keep meaning to read - thanks for the reminder :) Wow, 50 yrs!!

Copyright © 2009-present Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Powered by Blogger
Content by the Insatiable Reader