[Guest Post] Book Review: To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to read and review the debut novella Magic Square written by one of my classmates from college, Salini and it’s such a great feeling to be able to promote the book of a friend. So, when she agreed to review a book of her choice on my blog, I felt even more delighted. I’m so glad that the first guest post on my blog happens to be written by an author and a friend.

You can checkout Salini’s book on Goodreads (link), Amazon US (link) and Amazon India (link).

Salini also has a book review blog of her own in Malayalam which you can checkout here.

Now, let’s see what she has to say about the book that was recently selected as The Great American Read.

to kill a mocking bird

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The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

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To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee is often listed as one of the best novels of the 20th century. The heart and soul of this novel is its hero Atticus Finch. Atticus Finch lives with his two children, “Jean Louis” aka Scout and “Jeremy finch” aka Jim. Finch is a single father, who is affectionate and kind hearted. Atticus Finch is a practicing lawyer in the small town of Maycomb in Alabama. The story occurs during the time of 1933-35 when the racial discrimination is predominant in the society. The interesting part is, that the novel is narrated by an eight-year-old. Scout – daughter of Atticus Finch – narrates the story in a fresh and entertaining way.

The novel starts with the small events happening in and around the life of Scout. She loves and adores her father. She lives in a fairy world, being loved and protected by her father and elder brother. Things takes a turn when Atticus Finch was assigned as a defense lawyer for Tom Robinson – an African American man who was accused of raping a white woman. Even though Finch doesn’t hesitate to take up the case, he is met with dire disapproval from his small neighborhood and even his extended family. Scout and Jim doesn’t understand what their father was up to, but they sense that something is wrong. Finch’s family is gradually get isolated from the rest of the society. However, Finch doesn’t back off from the trial. He firmly believes that the justice will be done, no matter who stands at the either side of the case. He does his best efforts to make the children understand the same.

It is quite challenging to narrate such a strong subject from the point of view of an eight-year-old girl. However, the author has accomplished it with ease and elegance. One can say that this novel is also the journey of two children from the innocence of their childhood, towards their realization of injustice and inequality that is prevail in the society. However, they are not alone in the journey. Atticus Finch – their loving and gentleman father is showing them the difference between right and wrong. He wants his children to understand that one need to fight for justice, even if the entire world is against them. He shows them that there are many good aspects to this world and one need to focus on them without losing hope. They also meet many other characters who proves that world hasn’t lost all the goodness.

While discussing a grave issue that once prevailed in American society, the novel could still maintain a light mood – thanks to the narrator. I think it was a brilliant move from the author – Harper Lee – which make the novel and outstanding one. To Kill A Mocking Bird was later adapted into a film. The American Film Institute selected the character Atticus Finch as the best hero of the 20th century. After reading this novel I felt that this is an accurate selection. My recommendation is that, everyone should read this novel to get to know Finch. It is doubtful that we would meet someone so just and courageous in real life.

My favorite quote:
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience – Atticus Finch”

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