Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Booking It in 2010: To Kill A Mockingbird

As I stated last week, I'm on a mission to read the 100 Best Novels over the next few... well... years.  So when I saw this link-up at Life As Mom, I knew I had to link up.  In case you're wondering, I just love linking posts up to something!

Last month, I actually read one of the books on the list: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Somehow, I was the only kid in America who didn't read the book in middle school or high school.  In fact, last month was the first time I'd read the book, and, boy, was it good.

Obviously, the racial themes have been well documented, and, in fact, I was expecting a little more about segregation and the racial divide in the South than the book contained.  Perhaps my view is skewed, though, because I was on a Toni Morrison-Alice Walker kick a few months ago.  Regardless, I didn't think that racism, per se, was the primary point of the novel.

What struck me most was the prevalence of the mockingbird motif throughout the entire novel.  From Tom Robinson, the black man Atticus Finch defends, to Boo Radley, the recluse that Scout and Jem torment, the constant theme appears to be that it would be cruel to kill something that is innocent and harmless.  For that reason, Atticus defends Tom Robinson, and for that reason, the sherrif chooses to keep the true story of Scout and Jem's rescue by Boo Radley secret.  Ruining innocence is the chief crime in Lee's universe.

Anyway, my favorite character was definitely Dill, who inspired Scout and Jem to endless hours of summer fun.  A minor character, Dill was nonetheless entertaining, and he provided some comic relief at times when the novel's events got intense.  Besides, I later found out that his character was based on Truman Capote, who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee.  WOW!

These are just some quick thoughts on the novel.  I could continue for hours and paragraphs, but I figure this isn't the forum for that...


  1. Juanita - I too am Booking It at Life As Mom and had to come see what you thought about To Kill a Mockingbird. I was one of those students who read it probably 10 times through school but hadn't touched it in years. I decided yesterday at the library was the day to do so - and so I picked it up last night. So glad you enjoyed the book - it really is a great read!

  2. Oh, but I do love To Kill A Mockingbird! Have you seen the movie with Gregory Peck? Definitely worth watching after reading the book. My library had it.

    Where is the 100 best novels list? Sounds like something I'd like to check out!

  3. The Best Novels list is at Random House (http://www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100bestnovels.html) and is definitely worth checking out. There are also several blogs devoted to reading the list.

    I haven't had a chance to watch the movie, but I'm a sucker for old movies, and Gregory Peck is always worth watching!

  4. I have a friend who is working on that list. She's doing quite well. Good luck with it! Loved to Kill a Mockingbird!

  5. That is probably one of my favorite books (and movies) of all time. Thanks for reminding me! ;)