Reviews of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Review by centavo (2010-08-30)
I read this book for the first time when I was about 12, and it had a profound effect on me. I've since reread it many times, and consider it one of my all-time favorites. Atticus became my ideal for the good parent and the good citizen, reason over emotion and fairness over prejudice. He is a man of principle who lives out his moral convictions in his every action.
The premise is brilliant: child as narrator interpreting complex, adult-sized issues with a child's mind and a child's understanding, trying to fit it all into the context of what she's already learned and what she lives with her father and their housekeeper, Cal.
But there is lyricism as well, the words are evocative and sometimes just roll off the tongue: "Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum."
It's astounding that this is a first book. And I agree with another reviewer, who said this proves that you don't have to write a bunch of mediocre books, you can write a single great one. TKAM is one of enduring impact and importance.
Review by ksciranko (2007-11-18)
To Kill a Mockingbird is the best "classic" that I have ever read, second being Of Mice and Men. Although some text can be a bit confusing, it is a pretty easy novel to read. Harper Lee proved that you don't need to write a lot of mediocre books; that you can write only one GREAT book in your entire lifetime.
"Kill as many bluejays as you want but to kill a mocking bird is a sin". Its amazing how an author such as Harper Lee wrote only one novel and quit. it is indeed a BEAUTIFUL book written by one of the most gifted authors of our time to write about social discrimination, racism and of course, the influence these profanities have on a child's life while she is growing. Harper Lee does not deserve the Pulitzer but she deserves the Nobel Prize for influencing the society with her 'BEAUTIFUL' writing style. i would like to end with a series of adjectives praising the book and writer and I apologize if my raving is annoying anyone reading this........ Lovely, Beautiful, Marvelous, Stupendous, Incomparable. This book is indeed supercilious to all others I have ever read. Thank you Harper, for writing it.
Review by spartangrl2010 (2006-10-25)
This is a really good book. I have to read for a project. It is very interesting to know that I am similar to Scout, I used to be tomboy growing up. You should read this book ASAP because you don't know what your missing!! Really, it is so close to reality, you feel like your there. I love this book and think that Harper Lee is a genius!!^_^
Review by debzanne (2006-07-28)
This is the perfect book.
It has basic plot details, which an 8th and 9th grader can grasp and follow. As another reviewer mentioned, it's too bad that's when most people read it.
But there are so many layers of meaning in the book, and the vocabulary can be challenging if you pay attention to it, so it should be the kind of book that is addressed at the high school and college level. There are themes and motifs laced everywhere in this novel, not just the basic racism issues that most people remember and the movie focused on. Just the fact that Scout tells the story as an adult, looking back on her life and telling details as she remembers them... well, that is a layer in and of itself.
I've read it 9 times now, as I teach it, and I find more details I never noticed every time. Additionally, my students typically find things or express opinions about the events and concerns in the story I never thought of.
Review by guyermo (2004-08-25)
this is probably my favorite book out of the hundreds i've read. Atticus Finch is everything I hope to be when I have my own children. A very positive role model for men everywhere. Extremely well written, very vivid in depicting the depression era in the south, and still applies to the present, with the denial of continuing racism in our country
Review by mojosmom (2004-08-19)
A young girl's narrative of growing up in a small Alabama town during the depression, with her brother and widowed father, a lawyer who is
appointed to represent a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.
It's about love and hate, loneliness and friendship, family and community. Facing facts for the first time, finding that truth is not always what you think.
This is a book I read over and over again. Atticus Finch is my hero. (Loved the movie, too, but there is so much more to the book.)
Review by lozzina (2004-01-22)
Basically, a really good read. Told through the eyes of a small child, you get a first hand view of what's happening. You have to get used to the way the characters speak, but it only makes the characters more endearing in a way. Very good.
Review by bkgirl (2003-05-29)
One of the most important works of American literature. Beautifully written, a classic, its themes remain relevant. It's no surprise that this book won the Pulitzer for Ms. Lee. It's a shame most of us only read To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high or high school English -- this book is well worth another read later in life.