Stephen's Reviews > To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1413439
's review
May 24, 11

bookshelves: easton-press, 6-star-books, all-time-favorites, classics-americas, 1954-1969, literature, life-changers, classics, good-guys
Read from August 26 to 28, 2010

Photobucket

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)
206 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read To Kill a Mockingbird.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-35 of 35) (35 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Mike (the Paladin) I couldn't agree with you more.


message 3: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Great review, Stephen.


Stephen Thanks, Sara. This is one of those "shout from the rooftops" books for me.


Trudi Awesome review Stephen! I particularly love this!!!: "Lee’s prose is silky smooth and as cool as the other side of the pillow" :D :D So. Very. Nice.

I'm listening to this right now as an audiobook read by Sissy Spacek and am really enjoying it. I listen to a little each night and love that it's become my bedtime ritual to slip back into Scout and Jem's world for a little while, falling off to sleep to Atticus's calm and dignified words.


Stephen Trudi wrote: "Awesome review Stephen! I particularly love this!!!: "Lee’s prose is silky smooth and as cool as the other side of the pillow" :D :D So. Very. Nice..."

Thanks, Trudi. I saw that this had come out on audio and was thinking of getting it. Is Sissy doing a good job on the narration?


Trudi I'm loving her narration Stephen, but I'm a huge fan of hers anyway and adore her voice. For prose that's so silky smooth though, it really deserves to be read aloud :)


Vivian Stephen, This is my all-time favorite book.


Stephen Vivian wrote: "Stephen, This is my all-time favorite book."

It is certainly one of mine. It would be really hard for me to narrow it down to just one so I wimp out and just have a group of all time favorites.


Stephen Trudi wrote: "I'm loving her narration Stephen, but I'm a huge fan of hers anyway and adore her voice. For prose that's so silky smooth though, it really deserves to be read aloud :)"

Well said.


Stacey Oh yes, this is a beautiful book. It has been years since I've read it. Perhaps I should do so again.


message 12: by Checkman (new)

Checkman I agree with Stacey. It's a great book. Very good review.


Stephen Checkman wrote: "I agree with Stacey. It's a great book. Very good review."

Thank you, Checkman. Always nice to hear.


Bridget One of my favorite books & movies of all time. Great review.


Stephen Thanks, Bridget. I have not seen the movie yet, but you just reminded me that I need to get it.


Stephanie My 15 y/o son came to me just yesterday to tell me that he had found a battered copy of this book and his teacher let him keep it. He was surprised at the title. He said "I always thought it was 'Tequila Mockingbird'. So what is this about?" LOL!


Stephen Stephanie wrote: "He said "I always thought it was 'Tequila Mockingbird'. So what is this about?" LOL!"

Priceless.


message 18: by Rickey (new)

Rickey I read this in high school in the late 1960's, but your review made me think I really need to read it again.


Stephen Rickey wrote: "I read this in high school in the late 1960's, but your review made me think I really need to read it again."

I remember being a bit bored with the story when I read it earlier in life and then (as you you can see) loving it when I read it as an adult. I think sometimes we are exposed to certain classics at the wrong time in life and it prevents us from going back to them when we would most appreciate them.


message 20: by Alex (last edited May 29, 2011 04:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alex Reading of this book should be complemented by reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ...


Stephen Alex wrote: "Reading of this book should be complemented by reading Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" ..."

I would also recommend Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass as I found it a far more powerful work on the evils of slavery.


babyhippoface Stephen wrote: "Rickey wrote: "I read this in high school in the late 1960's, but your review made me think I really need to read it again."

I remember being a bit bored with the story when I read it earlier in..."


I agree completely. Many high school students aren't mature enough to appreciate the profound nature of Lee's work. I think it's brilliant, and Atticus Finch is the single greatest hero in all of literature.


message 23: by Juna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Juna great review. totally agree :)


message 24: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Thanks for the great review. I thought I was done with this one ages ago in high school, back when I thought real literature was The Martian Chronicles. Clearly, I missed a thing or two. Now, because I read your review, dammit, I just have to add this to my ever growing “to-read” list so I can join the Atticus Finch Fan Club and make you flush with happy. Thanks. A lot. Really.


Wesley Exactly.


message 26: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Mission accomplished. A new member of the Atticus Finch Fan Club reporting "Present and accounted for Sir!"


Stephen Mike wrote: "Mission accomplished. A new member of the Atticus Finch Fan Club reporting "Present and accounted for Sir!""

Outstanding. Glad to have you, aboard!!


Cortney Thank you for this review. This book is one of my all time favorites.


Stephen Cortney wrote: "Thank you for this review. This book is one of my all time favorites."

You are very welcome. That is nice of you to say, Cortney. I'm glad you liked it.


Kathleen Valentine Completely agree. I'm re-reading it right now and am STUNNED by how powerful it is -- especially now.


Stephen You are so right, Kathleen. This is one I will probably re-read every few years from now on. It's just wonderful.


Janet Read this in grade school. Loved it then, love it now. Intro'd my daughter to it and she loves it as much as I. Can't believe the people who think it is a crap book!!!


message 33: by Gail (new) - added it

Gail Pettie I completely agree. I love this book, it will be one of very few i will read and re read over many years.


message 34: by Rhea (new)

Rhea Nair The quote is so true...
Nice book.


Estefani Menéndez Totally agree!!!!!


back to top