Classics Club, Book #10: To Kill A Mockingbird (from October 2014)

This is my tenth post about 2014’s books for The Classics Club (just a bit late).  I’ll be reading one classic book a month through 2018.  Track what I’m reading for the Classics Club here.  I’ll try not to include too many spoilers in my review but I may need to discuss some in order to fully review the book. I’ll warn you if I’m going to mention one.  

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

IMG_0516 (800x533)as taken by Ellie (Poor Mark was still jet-lagged from our flight home from Alaska, because although I read it in October, I didn’t manage to take a picture until December.)

  • Year Published: 1960
  • Reread? Or new to me?:  new to me (How did I make it through high school without reading it?)
  • Number of Pages: forgot to write that down; it’s fairly short.
  • Date Finished: end of October
  • Number of Days it took me to read it: about a week
  • Page/Day ratio:  ???
  • Will I reread this?:  probably not until my kids have to read it when they’re older

Review: 

Not long after reading this, I ran across a reference in The Atlantic to someone being a neighbor “like Boo Radley” (or something like that), and  I was pleased to be able to place that literary reference. I felt like I was a real grownup. 🙂

I’ve read conflicting reviews of this book (on Goodreads).  One camp seems to think it’s an amazing literary accomplishment; the other, that it’s actually really poorly written with one-dimensional, stereotypical characters.  I think I probably fall in between those two camps.  Yes, the characters did feel a bit stereotyped (the weird neighbor, the tomboyish little sister, the white redneck racist wife-beater, etc., etc).  However, I think I can understand now why To Kill A Mockingbird persists as a novel that everyone is told to read.  It’s a powerful story, powerfully written, and one that has stayed with me. I found myself wondering how I would have reacted in such a situation, if I was a member of the jury or if I was the defending lawyer.  Would I have had the courage to see rightly?  Would I have had the ability to see beyond how I was raised and the larger culture I was raised within?  And, now, will my children learn to be so courageous and thoughtful through my example?

How about you? Have you read this?  If so, which To Kill A Mockingbird camp do you fall into?  Why?

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Would you like to join me in reading O Pioneers by Willa Cather in January? I’m planning to read that trilogy (also Song of the Lark and My Antonia in February/March) and then tackle Les Miserables after that.

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