Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of classics. I usually can’t stand any book that they force you to read in school- which is why I haven't read most of the books deemed “must reads” or “classics”. But “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a breath of fresh air. It is the most succinct, relatable, warm book I’ve read in a very long time. It has a very heartfelt rendition of what it’s like to be a child, and to see the world through a child’s eyes. Life is simple and untainted at that point. Children see the world purely- they see right from wrong without justifications, and I loved seeing that come to life in this brilliant novel by Harper Lee, one of my new favorite authors.
I saw all the ways it feels to be a child witnessing an adult world in the eyes of Scout and her family. I was reminded of what it’s like to be a child whose only toy is made-up games of imagination and pretend, one whose mind runs wild in the best and worst ways. I adored seeing Scout as a child, doing what a child does, and seeing the world in that special black and white way that only children have. Right from wrong, the importance of standing up for herself, the understanding of the lessons her father tried to impart on her. I loved seeing her reactions to things such as her brother getting older and more grown up, or her crush Dill promising to marry her, and I loved the simplistic innocence that she has in the face of all the ugly adult situations littered throughout this book.
Ms. Lee is a master at sucking you into her writing, with her spirited way of writing the south and the rich characters there. From the accented speech to the real life prejudices going on, To Kill a Mockingbird is the most accurate, realistic book to how people act in real life. There’s a true understanding of human nature in this book, and a wonderful amount of symbolism. It’s something that is meant to be read yourself, to sink into the deep understanding and little details of this book. I found it hauntingly beautiful, perfectly written, as close to a masterpiece novel as you can get.
There are touches of romance, of familial love, of cruelty, of judgement, of grief. There’s the pain of injustice, and the everyday situations that all of us can relate to, whether it’s a beloved neighbor suffering a tragedy, or seeing a kid at school who has less than you do struggling. Despite being written in 1960, I found myself relating to To Kill a Mockingbird more than many contemporary novels written today. There is just this sense of familiarity as you read, and it was a novel that I found hard to put down.
It is a sin to kill a mockingbird, because a mockingbird only lives to sing you sweet songs- it does no harm to you, it only helps. There are three examples of mockingbirds in To Kill a Mockingbird, in a symbolic sense, and each one squeezes your heart tighter than the last. This is a book that will haunt you, leaving behind a ghost that you’ll never shake. It’s a book that you carry through your life, and that which helped you to grow as a person. It gives you new wisdoms and outlooks, coloring your perspective in beautiful new shades. I can see why it is a forbidden book- it strongly deals with racial history, words, and cultures in a way that a modern, politically correct person might take offense to. But the offensive books are the ones that teach you the most. You’ll never learn if you’re not pushed- and that is what To Kill a Mockingbird does. Like Atticus at his trial, it pushes you to look beyond yourself and see the truth right in front of you; and to empathize with why it is a sin to kill the mockingbirds of our lives. It teaches you not to taint a pure creature, and it haunts you with the blood on your hands. It might be a forbidden book, but to me, there are very few books as important to read and understand as this one. If you are a reader, this is a book you must read.