I finished To Kill a Mockingbird yesterday (well, last week, by the time you read this). My thoughts are still formulating, slowly and solemnly, so I'll just share some of the impressions that stuck with me as I read.
This is a book I'm glad I first experienced as an adult. I know many people first read it as a high school assignment. While I would have enjoyed the chance to discuss the book, I'm not sure a high school English class would have been the best place for that. This is a profound book, and required reading tends to ruin the impact a book can have on someone's life. As an adult, I could fully enjoy the many layers of this story without being forced to analyze. I'm also quite sure I understood more than I would have as a high schooler. And I fully plan to read this book again later in my life so I can delve even deeper into the layers of the story.
I never expected that it would be so difficult to put down. This book took me four days to read, but only because I had to go to work. The trial part especially drew me in and kept me reading after I should have laid the book down to get some work done. Many classics have the reputation of being drudgery to read, even if it's worth it at the end. This was not one of those books. Scout's voice captured me at the beginning and left me wanting more at the end.
It was a brilliant decision on Harper Lee's part to tell this story from Scout's point of view. She sees the world as it should be, without prejudice or other people's opinions to color her view. It also makes those times when Atticus explains something to her equally as brilliant because of the way he needs to explain them so she understands. Children see truth, right through the facades of adults. I don't believe this book would have such a powerful impact if it had been told from the viewpoint of another character. That being said, however, I would love to get inside Atticus' or Boo Radley's or Tom Robinson's head and see the story from their side.
I don't know why it took me so long to pick this book up, but I am incredibly glad that I did. These are characters that will stay with me for a very long time, living in a story that touches us even today. And what a poignant story it is.
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