To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.Compassionate, dramatic, and deepl...

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Title:To Kill a Mockingbird
Author:Harper Lee
Rating:
Edition Language:English

To Kill a Mockingbird Reviews

  • Kim

    Why is it when I pick up

    , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay.

    Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes pla

    Why is it when I pick up

    , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay.

    Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes place in

    and mostly in the summer, well there is that one climatic scene on Halloween, but I bet it’s still hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey.

    It must be the school thing, my daughter just finished reading it, prompting me to give it another go, to fall back into Scout’s world and pretend to be eight and let life simply be.

    How is that? How can life for Scout be simple? I mean, she lives in the south, during the depression, she has to deal with ignorant schoolteachers and town folk, her ideas of what is right, what is what it should be are laughed at by her schoolmates… man, and I thought my childhood was rough.

    Still, she lives in this idyllic town, I mean, except for the racism and the creepy neighbors and the whole fact that it’s, you know, the south…(forgive me… I’m not immune to the downfalls of the north, I mean, we had witches and well, Ted Bundy was born here…) But, there’s this sense of childlike innocence to this book that makes me believe in humanity… even in the throes of evil. What am I saying here? I guess, that this is a good pick me up.

    What I also get from this book is that I have severe Daddy issues. I consume Atticus Finch in unnatural ways. He is the ultimate father; he has the perfect response for every situation. He is the transcendent character. My heart melts at each sentence devoted to him and I just about crumble during the courtroom scene.

    Am I gushing? I sure am. I was raised by a man who thought that Budweiser can artwork was the epitome of culture. That drinking a 6-pack was the breakfast of champions. That college was for sissies. He could throw out a racial slur without a single thought, care or worry to who was around. I won't even get into the debates/rantings of a 16 yr old me vs a 42 yr old him... What a role model.

    So, I thank Harper Lee for giving me Atticus. I can cuddle up with my cider and pretend that I’m basking in his light. I can write this blurb that makes sense to maybe a handful but that is okay, I am approved of and all is good.

  • Stephen

    6.0 stars. I know I am risking a serious “FILM AT 11” moment and a club upside the head from

    for voicing this, but nabbit dog I still think it needs to be said…TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT American novels ever written. Okay, I said it, and I will wait patiently while you get your

    and

    out of the way and hang your “no shit” signs outside for Inspector Holmes.

    Okay, now given the gruntload of reviews/ratings this book has I know I’m not the f

    6.0 stars. I know I am risking a serious “FILM AT 11” moment and a club upside the head from

    for voicing this, but nabbit dog I still think it needs to be said…TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of the BEST and MOST IMPORTANT American novels ever written. Okay, I said it, and I will wait patiently while you get your

    and

    out of the way and hang your “no shit” signs outside for Inspector Holmes.

    Okay, now given the gruntload of reviews/ratings this book has I know I’m not the first person to wag my chin about how amazing it is. Still, I am going to chance coming off like that annoying dingleberry at the tail end of a huge porcelain party because I truly have a pile of love for this book.

    So if my review can bring a few more people into the Atticus Finch Fan Club, I will be just flush with happy.

    On one level, this book is a fairly straight-forward coming of age story about life in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression. It has a very slice of lifesaver warmth and simplicity to it that I think resonates with a lot of readers. It certainly does with me and I think the adjective “charm” may have been invented to describe the novel.

    Despite how easing flowing the narrative is, this book is both extremely and deceptively powerful in its discussion of race, tolerance and human decency. Most importantly, this book shows us by example the courage to stand all up in the grill of injustice and say “Not today, Asshole! Not on my watch.”

    That is a lesson that I think we can never be reminded of too often. When bad people do bad things to good people, the rest of us good people need to sack up and be counted regardless of how scary it might be. Easier said then done, I know. But at least that should be the standard to which we strive.

    Atticus Fitch is the epitome of that standard. He is the role model to end all role models and what is most impressive is that he comes across as such a REAL person. There is no John Wayne/Jack Bauer/Dirty Harry cavalry charging BSD machismo about him. Just a direct, unflinching, unrelenting willingness to always do what he thinks is right. As Atticus’ daughter Scout puts it so well:

    I was to make something crystal before going on because it is an important part of my love of this story. Notwithstanding this book's powerful, powerful moral message, it never once…ever…comes off as preachy or heavy handed. There is no lecture to be given here. The only sermon we are privy to is the example of Atticus Finch and the simple yet unwavering strength and quiet decency of the man. Even when asked by his daughter about the horrendous racism being displayed by the majority of the townsfolk during a critical point in the story, Atticus responds with conviction but without:

    This is a special story. Oh, and as a huge bonus…it is also an absolute joy to read. Lee’s prose is silky smooth and as cool as the other side of the pillow. Read this book. Read it with your children, read it with your spouse, read it by yourself….read it the bigoted assclown that you work with or see around the neighborhood…Just make sure you read it. It is a timeless classic and one of the books that I consider a “life changer.” 6.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!!!

    BONUS QUOTE: This is Scout talking to Atticus after getting to know someone she had previously be afraid of:

    (Emphasis added)

  • Jon
  • Miranda Reads

    I (along with millions of other kids) first read this in grade-school. And I (along with those millions)

    I remember thinking,

    if I could go back in time...

    Rereading led to a (unsurprisingly)

    of this novel.

    I (along with millions of other kids) first read this in grade-school. And I (along with those millions)

    I remember thinking,

    if I could go back in time...

    Rereading led to a (unsurprisingly)

    of this novel.

    and what she's written.

    How could I have so completely missed the point back in fifth grade?

    We follow

    , the daughter of Atticus Finch - a prominent lawyer. Scout narrates the

    tragedies of her life - namely the trial of Tom - an

    Atticus is appointed to defend Tom and soon, nearly the

    the Finch Family.

    Much like Scout, I was simply too young to understand much of what was going on the first time through.

    I tell you, there were so, so many moments this time through where the

    My entire life,

    why this was such a classic, why people read it over and over, and why this (of all books) is forced upon kids year after year.

    And I'm disappointed that I hadn't reread it sooner.

    P.s. Sorry to my teachers for being such a sulky kid - they sure picked a great one. I was just so enthralled with reading

    things that I didn't read this one as well as I should've.

    Exceptionally well-read by Sissy Spacek. I felt like I was in the story. If you are itching for a reread - pick up the audio!

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  • Meghan

    If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one would ever have to read it again.

    I think that To Kill A Mockingbird has such a prominent place in (American) culture because it is a naive, idealistic piece of writing in which naivete and idealism are ultimately rewarded. It's a saccharine, rose-tinted eulogy for the nineteen thirties from an orator who comes not

    If I could give this no stars, I would. This is possibly one of my least favorite books in the world, one that I would happily take off of shelves and stow in dark corners where no one would ever have to read it again.

    I think that To Kill A Mockingbird has such a prominent place in (American) culture because it is a naive, idealistic piece of writing in which naivete and idealism are ultimately rewarded. It's a saccharine, rose-tinted eulogy for the nineteen thirties from an orator who comes not to bury, but to praise. Written in the late fifties, TKAM is free of the social changes and conventions that people at the time were (and are, to some extent) still grating at. The primary dividing line in TKAM is not one of race, but is rather one of good people versus bad people -- something that, of course, Atticus and the children can discern effortlessly.

    The characters are one dimensional. Calpurnia is the Negro who knows her place and loves the children; Atticus is a good father, wise and patient; Tom Robinson is the innocent wronged; Boo is the kind eccentric; Jem is the little boy who grows up; Scout is the precocious, knowledgable child. They have no identity outside of these roles. The children have no guile, no shrewdness--there is none of the delightfully subversive slyness that real children have, the sneakiness that will ultimately allow them to grow up. Jem and Scout will be children forever, existing in a world of black and white in which lacking knowledge allows people to see the truth in all of its simple, nuanceless glory.

    I think that's why people find it soothing: TKAM privileges, celebrates, even, the child's point of view. Other YA classics--Huckleberry Finn; Catcher in the Rye; A Wrinkle in Time; The Day No Pigs Would Die; Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret; Bridge to Terabithia--feature protagonists who are, if not actively fighting to become adults, at least fighting to find themselves as people. There is an active struggle throughout each of those books to make sense of the world, to define the world as something larger than oneself, as something that the protagonist can somehow be a part of. To Kill A Mockingbird has no struggle to become part of the world--in it, the children *are* the world, and everything else is just only relevant in as much as it affects them. There's no struggle to make sense of things, because to them, it already makes sense; there's no struggle to be a part of something, because they're already a part of everything. There's no sense of maturation--their world changes, but it leaves them, in many ways, unchanged, and because of that, it fails as a story for me. The whole point of a coming of age story--which is what TKAM is generally billed as--is that the characters come of age, or at least mature in some fashion, and it just doesn't happen.

    All thematic issues aside, I think that the writing is very, er, uneven, shall we say? Overwhelmingly episodic, not terribly consistent, and largely as dimensionless as the characters.

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