Monday, August 13, 2007

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Country: America
Year: 1960
Rating: A
Pages: 323 pgs.

First sentence: When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

Finally. I can finally say I have read To Kill A Mockingbird, an achievement that is long, long overdue. I'm not sure how I managed to make it through school without having to read this modern American classic. It was also a delight to read one of the original reviews, About Life & Little Girls, published in Time in 1960.

In Maycomb, Alabama, which is rumored to be based upon Lee's hometown of Monroeville, everybody knows everybody else, and almost everybody is related to you in one way or another. And, as I'm sure many of you are familiar with the unforgettable characters of Scout, Jem, Atticus, and Dill--and the many wonderful neighbors Miss Maudie, Miss Rachel, and the Radleys--I will not rehash the storyline here.

I'm always hesitant to begin a book that I have heard so much about, and To Kill A Mockingbird certainly has its fair share of acclaim. Fortunately, I feel it completely lives up to the hype. I was drawn in to the story from page one, and felt it was a wonderful portrayal of many of this issues going on in the 1930's South: racism, social class differences, Southern chivalry and what that meant at that time, and what courage is.

This was my last book for Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge , and a wonderful note to end it on (I'm also reading it for the Book Awards challenge). To cap it off, I made a quintessential Southern summer dessert. No, not pe-khan pie. :) But the next best thing, a scrumptious peach pie. We picked up a bushel of peaches at the market this weekend, and boy are they good! It was the first time I had ever made a fruit-filled pie. I've always been more of a cook than a baker, and struggle with desserts, but I must say this pie was divine! I had hoped to photograph my very first peach pie, but we, ah, dove into it before I remembered the camera. Ah well, y'all just have to use your 'magination.

More than meets the eye:
'Nobody knew what form of intimidation Mr. Radley employed to keep Boo out of sight, but Jem figured that Mr. Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time. Atticus said no, it wasn't that sort of thing, that there were other ways of making people into ghosts.' (p. 12)

Simple delights:
'Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all. summer was Dill.' (p. 38)

On courage:
"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 you see it through no matter what." (p. 112)

Young love:
'With him [Dill], life was routine; without him, life was unbearable. I stayed miserable for two days.' (p. 132)


Petunia said...

Thanks for sharing your review. I've just finished the book and am about to watch the movie(right after lunch, in fact). My own review will be up soon.

Fresh peach pie. Mmmmmm! One of my all time favorites.

Nyssaneala said...

I just added the movie to my Netflix list, I hope to watch it soon too.

Joy said...

I missed this one during high school, too, so I read it just a few years ago. Glad you enjoyed it. It was a winner for me as well. :)

Maggie said...

Ew, I love peaches! I'e had one each morning for breakfast this week.

I love your quotes, and I hope this will be the summer people remember I read To Kill a Mockingbird! :D

cj said...

What a great review of my all time favorite book.

And thanks for the link to the original review. I enjoyed reading it.


Dewey said...

One of my favorite books ever! I'm so happy you liked it.

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