Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Book Review- To Kill A Mocking Bird, Harper Lee

Paperback, 50th Anniversary Edition, 309 pages
Published June 24th 2010 by Arrow Books Ltd (first published 1960)
0099549484 (ISBN13: 9780099549482)
edition language
original title
To Kill a Mockingbird
Maycomb, Alabama, 1935 (United States)
Alabama (United States)
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
My Review
“You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don't you let 'em get your goat. Try fightin' with your head for a change.
-Atticus Finch”
―Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird.
It has never taken my heart too much of coaxing and cajoling to pick up a classic. When a book has been labelled as a classic, an American masterpiece, you are nearly assured of how things will turn out. There are expectations that touch the sky. With this book, I had too much of expectations but alas I’m spellbound to speak a word. The mere thought of penning down a review for a classic like this is intimidating. There are too many people, too many generations that has already read the book and have their own appreciations and own criticisms.
The plot need not be explained for a lot has been spoken and a lot has been written. There are sensitive issues that are discussed in a way that disturbs you and awakens your senses. It depresses you in every possible way. The destruction of innocence and the most realistic form of heroism have been portrayed with the most effective and apt use of literary devices. The language is fluid and smooth and makes you delve deep into the workings Atticus Finch’s mind. The society and their unjust views and actions make you think did ever humanity exist? Harper Lee’s truthfulness of a society that once existed makes it pretty much a must-read.
About The Author-
Harper Lee, known as Nelle, was born in the Alabama town of Monroeville, the youngest of four children of Amasa Coleman Lee and Frances Cunningham Finch Lee. Her father, a former newspaper editor and proprietor, was a lawyer who served on the state legislature from 1926 to 1938. As a child, Lee was a tomboy and a precocious reader, and enjoyed the friendship of her schoolmate and neighbor, the young Truman Capote.

After graduating from high school in Monroeville, Lee enrolled at the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery (1944-45), and then pursued a law degree at the University of Alabama (1945-50), pledging the Chi Omega sorority. While there, she wrote for several student publications and spent a year as editor of the campus humor magazine, "Ramma-Jamma". Though she did not complete the law degree, she studied for a summer in Oxford, England, before moving to New York in 1950, where she worked as a reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and BOAC.

Lee continued as a reservation clerk until the late 50s, when she devoted herself to writing. She lived a frugal life, traveling between her cold-water-only apartment in New York to her family home in Alabama to care for her father.

Having written several long stories, Harper Lee located an agent in November 1956. The following month at the East 50th townhouse of her friends Michael Brown and Joy Williams Brown, she received a gift of a year's wages with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas."

Within a year, she had a first draft. Working with J. B. Lippincott & Co. editor Tay Hohoff, she completed To Kill a Mockingbird in the summer of 1959. Published July 11, 1960, the novel was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal


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