To Kill a Mockingbird

Written by: Harper Lee

Published By: Grand Central Publishing

Reviewed by Dorothy Doremus

            It is the 50th anniversary of the fantastic novel written in 1960 by Harper Lee about a family in the south that just takes your breath away.

            In To Kill A Mockingbird, Jem Finch and his sister, Scout, live with their father Atticus, who is the town’s most prestigious lawyer.  Atticus is a very knowledgeable and proud parent who educates his family to the ways of the world.  Atticus finds Jem and Scout distracted by the goings on at the Radley house, where the Radley’s son Arthur, better known as Boo, lives as a mysterious recluse.

            Throughout the novel, Jem and Scout, with the aid of Cousin Dill, come up with plot after plot to see Boo Radley and try to lure him to one of the many windows.  The book is filled with good natured pranks like this and it brings back memories of my childhood mishaps. 

            Meanwhile, Atticus is working on a very controversial case defending Tom Robinson against the town’s welfare family, the Ewells, who claim that Tom raped their eldest daughter.  In the south, when a colored man rapes a southern white woman, the trial is one that can claim a life.  The racial bigotry that Atticus and his family endure is heartbreaking.  The book brings that to the forefront with a trial to end all trials.

            Atticus is forced to stand against a mob at the jail who have come to perform their own type of justice.  The writing just made your heart leap when Scout is the one who unites the community once more, turning them from a mob to a group of concerned neighbors. 

            One of my favorite characters in To Kill a Mockingbird is Calpurnia, the Finches’ housekeeper.  She has a delightful spirit about her, sort of the missing mother of the novel.  She is also frowned upon by her congregation when she brings the Finch children to her church, but being a strong person, she lets it all fall around her, never truly affecting her good nature.

            I am so glad I read this novel.  Harper Lee is an amazing writer.  She gets to the point, but not before she really breaks it down for you.  I really hope you give yourself the gift of reading To Kill a Mockingbird.  Don’t wait another fifty years before you pick this classic novel up.


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