One of the best classics out there
Assigned at the beginning of English class, into it by the first page, eye-glued by the next few chapters, raving about smack before I even finished the book. That is how good Harper Lee's masterpiece about growing up, life in the South during the 1930s, racism, and human dignity is to me. Based on how many copies it has sold over the years, how many English teachers have assigned it, and how many positive things people have to say about it and its award-winning movie adaption, many people share my view on it being one of the best written books.
In brief, "To Kill A Mockingbird" is about the childhood of a girl named Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. Growing up in sleepy Maycomb, Alabama, Scout and her authoritative older brother, Jem, go on adventures with their summer buddy Dill, snoop around the mysterious Radley house, go to school, and witness utter prejudice and indignity at the famous trial for Tom Robinson's rape, where their father Atticus gives his famous closing argument.
Lee is clear and distinct in her writing: with simple vocabulary she is able to expertly craft a clear, implying story in your mind's eye, and the powerful, deep emotions of the characters and time period are easily perceived by the no-doubt eager reader. Lee's mesmerizing narrator is the grown up Scout, her critical, tomboy main character within the story. The narrators style of telling the story contains clear memory, containing under her history her opinions and emotions in such a way you feel like you are feeling a thick mattress and can detect the painful bumps and soft centers of Scout's eventful childhood, made so by her lawyer father's stead-fast views on morality and the heart-felt lessons he taught her.
The characters are marvelously realistic: Scout being a free-thinking tomboy, Jem being the smart, commanding older brother, Atticus the moral, intellectual lawyer, Dill being the "aw!" stirring, sensitive doll (in a good way), and the myriad of other characters all being outstanding in their characterization and roles in the story; all being wonderful role models or examples, good or bad, for readers to decipher and think about.
And the messages... oh, don't get an English teacher started, your talk won't end too soon! Numerous messages pertaining to prejudice, growing up, conflicts, human nature, and justice fill the novel, making this novel a treasure that anyone will think back to and wonder about.
This is an awesome read for teenagers who are appreciative of classics and how they changed culture and our views. I would recommend it to anybody, so would you after you read this.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing