Synopsis: In Alabama during the 1930’s, the routine of eight-year-old Scout and her brother Jem consists of going to school and making up stories about their favourite local bogeyman Boo Radley.But when their lawyer father takes on the case of a Black man accused of raping a White woman,both children soon realise that there are evils far greater than Boo Radley that lurk in Alabama.
What you will like in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ :
Prior to Victoria Beckham naming her daughter ‘Harper’,‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was best known as the only book to have ranked ahead of the Bible in the British librarians’ must-read list.The book is also regularly featured in the top ten of any list trying to determine the best novels of all time.In fact Harper Lee owes much of her books’s success to the unforgettable Atticus Finch.He is a character full of virtues and in virtually every scene he is,he teaches us something.Meet Atticus once and your life won’t be the same any more! (At least mine changed!)
Amidst the racial turmoil that took Alabama by storm,Scout,Dill and Jem are always here to relieve the tension.Who can ever forget their countless attempts to lure Boo Radley away from his house?Besides their innocence is omnipresent in the book: the questions they ask and their delusion upon finding that truth doesn’t always prevail have touched the hearts of millions of readers.
It was a master-stroke from Lee to hand the narration of her story to Scout.Through the latter’s eyes,we experience once again the innocence and fantasy of childhood.More importantly,Scout commits the same mistakes as us when we were kids,and when she is consequently lectured by Atticus,we are reminded of some life lessons which we might have forgotten while growing up.Also being only an innocent child,Scout is able to distinguish the wrong from the good and thus,questions the indifference of adults to injustice-as people grow up,they forget that ”it is a sin to kill a mockingbird”.In this respect,Scout’s narration gives the book the perfect equilibrium between humour and poignancy.
Let alone the children whose adventures are incredibly funny,the adults in the book too contribute much to the humour of the book.Maycomb being a small town,rumours spread quickly from one habitant to another.As a result,everyone has a usually-funny anecdote about everyone.For instance,rumours have it that Miss Rachel has whiskey as breakfast everyday.(Why?Go figure yourself!I won’t spoil the surprise!).All in all,the humour in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is light-hearted and makes our reading of the book a very pleasant experience.
The moral is not what you might have expected when reading the plot.As the story progresses,Harper Lee gives us the impression that the moral we initially thought about will emerge;however shortly after the anticlimax,this very moral fades away and gives place to the real one.It is only then that we realise that the true lesson of the story has been relevant to every character’s life since the beginning.It is said that reading fiction makes one empathetic.Whenever I hear ,To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the first books which spring to mind!
Verdict: This novel is beautifully written.Scout is perhaps the friendliest character you will come across in literature and is thus the appropriate one to narrate this story which touches upon such a sensitive and serious subject.Her innocence pervades in every scene of the book and for a little more than 300 pages (that depends on which edition you have),you are taken back to your childhood and rediscover its magic.After reading this book,you will feel very good about yourself,as you will have gone on an unforgettable journey with unforgettable characters.A flawless,heartening and must-read novel!