It's easy to understand why this book made an impression on so many people when it was first published at the height of the American Civil Rights Move...moreIt's easy to understand why this book made an impression on so many people when it was first published at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement in the sixties.
On the surface it deals with small town narrow minded stereotypes in the American south, and the racial prejudice so many African Americans had to endure during this period living and working in these communities. It's a poignant reminder of the societal norms that were prevalent as little as a generation ago. By today's standards the condescending undertones evident in some of the dialog can be a little hard to bear and makes one cringe in some places.
But these themes do not really surface until halfway through the book, which is actually about Scout Finch: the little girl who's not afraid to put her fists up to put the boys in their place, prefers britches to dresses, and spends the summers with her brother Jem and friend Dill trying to make sense of the people living in their neighborhood.
The book will invariably conjure up long forgotten memories of ones own childhood as you follow Scout and Jem around the town of Maycomb, which is probably why it resonates with readers even today. They enjoy a seemingly carefree existence in a beneficent world, but as the story progresses the challenges associated with status anxiety, family tension, conflicting world views, and growing animosity of emerging enemies is slowly revealed to them.
It's a worthwhile read, and even if none of the above themes particularly appeal to you, it is likely that the sumptuous writing contained in this Pulitzer prize winning novel will. (less)