To Kill A Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Perhaps To Kill A Mockingbird is a little dated in terms of social issues and setting, but I don’t see why it would fail to be any relevant now than it was before. I only read this well-loved masterpiece last year, in preparation for reading its companion (not sequel) novel, Go Set A Watchman, and I finally understood why many people love this book.

It was very simply written, but perhaps that’s the best part of it: it doesn’t need to be couched in exquisite, difficult language in order to be appreciated or for its message to come across. Rather, the straightforward writing will easily engage you, make you feel involved with the lives of Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch. Those are the best books, really: simple, articulate, and (or should I say, "but"?) packs a wallop.

Oh, Atticus. I have heard so much about him being a favorite lawyer (are there many?) in literature, and so finally reading about his legal heroics in this book makes me proud. Sure, the local legal scene is quite different from other jurisdictions, but Atticus did the legal profession everywhere very good. He deserves to be called one of the most memorable literary characters of all time. He is definitely one of my favorites now.

Scout wasn’t a favorite character, but I was taken by her innocence and child-likeness. “Innocence can’t be lost; it just needs to be maintained,” sang a favorite country singer from years before. I can’t help but remember that line as I read about Scout’s adventures (and misadventures) with her older brother, Jem. I especially loved their (mis)encounters with their strange neighbor, Boo Radley, who scared them sh*tless all the time.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

To Kill A Mockingbird is required reading in many schools, both in the Philippines and abroad. I regret that I wasn’t able to read it during my younger years, when the lessons imparted by the novel would have, no doubt, made a stronger impact on my young mind. It would have made quite an impression, especially since I had always wanted to pursue a career in law, and Scout and Jem’s childhood years reminded me a lot of my own. But I don’t regret reading it only now, because really, how can you regret ever reading a gem of a novel such as this?

Rating: ★★★★★
Book Details: Mass market paperback, secondhand copy
Read in August 2015


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