I had a few days there where I didn’t have any time to read, let alone to write it up. So the other night I made the executive decision to take some time out for myself (wow, what a concept) and read To Kill a Mockingbird all evening. I managed to read the entire second half of the book. It took me several hours, but reading books in one sitting is so much more enjoyable than breaking it up. It’s like binge watching a show on Netflix. But better. Because it’s a book.
So, I’ve finished it all. Did I like it? An unqualified yes. Did I think it was transformative piece of literature? Not by today’s standards, but, of course, it was published in 1960. Was it transformative then? With the awards it has received, I’d say yes. It dealt with some extremely important issues, such as race and class. And that the perspective of the book was that of a young girl was wonderful to me. A girl, for one, and a young girl, for two. We were only privy to what Scout was privy to.
On to some specific comments.
Dill… I feel like Harper Lee didn’t do enough with Dill. I suppose that we got what Dill we did because it was all from Scout’s perspective and she didn’t have the perspective of a thoughtful adult. Though we did witness her point of view evolving over the book, as we did for Jem.
The second half of the book, pretty much, was consumed with the trial. One reason why it was so easy to read that part all in one go is because it was dramatic, without too many major story breaks between chapters. You kept going to find out what happened next. There was danger, anticipation, conspiracy, hope, joy, sorrow… It ran the gamut of emotions and situations.
In the end, you knew who the good guys were and who the not-so-good guys were, and those who were downright horrid. You knew who you wanted to know and who you didn’t want to know. And you understood to what, specifically, the title refers. It was a good ending, without much build up but it really worked. I still loved Miss Maudie. I still loved Atticus. I still loved Calpurnia. I still loved Scout and Jem. Dill was a neutral party, but definitely on the side of good. That boy has seen a lot. And Boo Radley… What’s to say about him? I wish I could read the whole book again from his point of view. I knew he was a good person, at least as early as when he started putting things in the tree for the kids. I was really glad to get to “see” him at the end, and I wished I could just sit with him myself.
I loved how much Scout and Jem had paid attention to Atticus in regard to the law. They knew exactly what was going on in court, and how trials seemed to work. And they could read their father like a book.
When I began reading, I had no idea that it was a book for kids or youth. I thought it was a novel more in line with A Tale of Two Cities or The Scarlet Letter in terms of difficulty. Maybe it was because I ended up with the large print edition, but while I was reading, it felt more like a book for middle schoolers. And it turned out that the daughter of a friend was reading it in middle school, so that seems to hold true.
I am interested in seeing the movie version, but probably not for a little while yet. I need the book to sink in sufficiently, so I never mistake what’s in the movie for a book thing.
And now, I get to read another book. Not sure which one yet, and I won’t be blogging it. But I’m excited to jump into another world.