Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recently, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century.

Although I don't think is ever late to read a classic, I've never picked this one until last week and I actually have to feel a bit sorry I've waited because it was one of the best stories I've read, in the "classics" genre.
I've read this one for one of my book clubs and I feared it might be boring story even though I knew it has been one of the most talked about and liked books ever.
For those who haven't got to it yet (hey if it took me more than 20 years...), it's the story of a white lawyer back in the 30s defending a black man, in the south of the USA. Something very unlikely. The narrator is that lawyer's daughter, Scout. We see everything trough her innocent eyes and sometimes the words of a child can be more cutting that the deceiving of an adult.
Anyway, a black man is accused of raping a white girl and considering the time of the book, there's nothing like CSI to help with the evidence so it was more of a matter of honor and the word of one against the other. In a rural place, full of hate and prejudice, guess who had the most power?

The story is told by Scout and everything that happens, from the talks about the case to her playing with her brother and a friend comes through innocent eyes. It's such a simple story but so emotional and beautiful because she is the one who tells things. She often gives her honest although innocent opinion and it's so much more real because of that. She and her brother lost their mother but the father is an educated man and educated them the best way possible and it shows on their behavior, they admit their responsibility and even when misbehaving they still apologize and try to correct their mistakes. And more..they really feel sorry and guilty when they act badly. This makes me think about how easy things were when we were kids and how growing seems to make us more aware of everything, we filter all the emotions and all the attitudes and children, it's quite a lesson.
I loved seeing the action take place and how the children would react to things around them and how they dealt with the good and the bad things. I didn't cry but all the main happenings in the story made me think and made me feel very emotional. It's a very touching book.

In the end of the book we see injustice and lack of truth happen but we feel powerless to stop something as ingrained in the land as dirt itself. It was how things were even when we knew they ere wrong. But still a bit of hope would appear and I think this is the beauty of the book, even in bad things, there's always the hope of something better, even if it's the innocence of a child.
I really loved the book. Much more than what I imagined I might. I feel emotional just thinking about it. I also thought the title couldn't be explained but the end of the book proved that yes, it can and innocence must be preserved like mockingbirds are, for they embody the same thing...the simple beauty of a living being.

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