Thursday, 7 February 2013

Book Review #4: To Kill A Mockingbird

Book Critique #1:
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Book review by Alyssa L.
Responding review to

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, is a masterful book that leaves you on the edge of your seat.  From the beginning to end, the book throws new ideas and deep meaningful passages.  I agree with Kristen’s book review that the first half of the story was uneventful and was not very fulfilling.  It was likely slow because it was the exposition and was meant to show you what it was like to live in Maycomb, a small town in Alabama, a place of discrimination during the 1930’s. Even though the beginning was mundane, I could visualize the characters and understand their thoughts and feelings.  The ages of the children, Scout and Jem, seemed very deliberate because their experiences are so different and Scout could never be at the same knowledge point as Jem.  I thought that the age was impractical because realistically, they are too young to deal with the mature topics and situations explored such as discrimination. The protagonist in the story, Scout Finch, is not the average 7-year-old girl you would see. Scout is a well-described character who develops physically and mentally throughout the story.  She starts to learn of the evil in the world and many things will not go the way she would like. She is a tomboy who is appreciative of her father Atticus Finch and takes on many aspects of his personality and characteristics. Atticus Finch is a lawyer who defends Blacks and is also a very round character. He is a humble, kind man who looks at the world with an optimistic attitude.  He always looks for the good in people and appears to be very forgiving. Since Atticus defends Black people, he does not get paid much.  In the book, Atticus teaches Scout that everyone he defends gives him whatever they can to repay him, which is more than enough.  They might not pay in money, but they pay him back with good deeds or firewood.
There are many messages throughout the book, but the dominant theme was discrimination and inequality between different races is damaging to humanity. This quote from the book "When it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins,” really stood out to me because I thought that it was a powerful statement and fits with this theme.  During the 1930’s, people treated each other differently depending on their race.  A connection that I made as I read the book has to relate to the title, To Kill A Mockingbird.  On the back of the book it mentions, “It is a sin to kill a mockingbird.”  The reasoning behind this quote is that mockingbirds do not harm or bother anyone.  I think Harper Lee was trying to portray Tom Robinson as a mockingbird.  He was accused of an atrocious crime even though he was just trying to be helpful. One of my favorite parts in the book is in the courthouse when each witness is sharing their side of the story of the crime against Tom Robinson. I became a part of the story as the conflict unfolded before me, and I could not predict what was going to happen next. To Kill A Mockingbird is a book packed full of description and imagery against a historical setting.  This book delivered a very meaningful message of looking at the good side of people rather than the bad, which I really took to heart.  However, a disappointment was that the plot of the story was very unclear until the middle, which made the book slightly confusing and hard to follow. Overall I really enjoyed this book.  I thought that the ending was very satisfying and met all of my expectations.  I would recommend this book to junior high students and anyone who would appreciate a complex historical fiction book that covers a mature subject.

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