Wednesday, 27 July 2011

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – Harper Lee, 1960

To be honest, I have never really understood the title of the book. The blurb on the back of my paperback copy says that Tom Robinson is ‘the real mockingbird’ of the story, yet the end of the story implies that it is Boo Radley. The reason Atticus Finch gives, to justify his statement that killing one is a sin, is that mockingbirds just give pleasure without causing anyone any harm. Neither man, therefore, seems to have earnt such praise.

Title apart, this is an enchanting story, told through the eyes of a young girl. Not any young girl though. Scout Finch is the perfect character to narrate the events. She is discovering rules and prejudices and constantly questioning. The fact that her aunt is trying to make her behave in a more lady-like fashion and hates to see her in dungarees is given equal weighting with Tom Robinson’s trial.

I haven’t read this book for about twenty years so it was a real treat to revisit it. I also love the 1962 film version, mainly because of Gregory Peck’s outstanding portrayal of Atticus Finch. In film and book, when Scout is finally able to see Boo as a real person it brings a tear to my eye.


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