Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Posted April 28, 2011 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Publisher: J. B. Lippencott & Co on July 11, 1960
Genre: Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction
Target Age Group: Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult, Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC, Black
Content Warnings: Death, Hate Crime, Racial Slurs, Racism, Rape

Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads or buy the book at Bookshop.org

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

2022 Update: This review was imported from Goodreads several years before this blog was actively managed. As such, I have attempted to update the book information pulling content warnings from The StoryGraph as available. I recommend reading more recent reviews of this book to be sure it holds up in the modern world.


I think every child in the American school system has read this book. English teachers love it for its metaphors, and even the roughest students tolerate it for its charm. I last read this book in my tenth grade English Honors class, sitting at a table with two friends. Our teacher encouraged us to draw pictures of the things that stood out to us, and in that way, the book was made more accessible to us. I vividly remember my friends and I doodling Scout in her ham suit, and Dill with his duck-fluff hair (we were horrified that this failed to come through in the movie version).

What is there to say about To Kill a Mockingbird that hasn’t been said before? Being a classic, it has been torn about by people whose opinions feel so much more valid than mine. It’s historical importance has been touched upon time and again as Atticus’ position as the lawyer of a “colored man” puts him in the position of an ethical dilemma, one in which he makes all the right decisions imaginable. In fact, Atticus himself has been revered through time as one of the greatest literary characters in history.

What caught my attention in the reading of the book, though, was not the character of Atticus – it was the character of Boo Radley. Boo was Scout’s adventure, a mystery, an urban legend in his own way. Perhaps his mysterious demeanor is what makes him so attractive to the inquisitive reader. Certainly everybody has their own opinions about Boo, whereas in the case of the trial, the story in black-and-white.

I think that everyone has their own story about To Kill a Mockingbird. Even in the technology era, the story has been embedded into our society. There are too many important themes, memorable characters, and unraveled mysteries in the story for us to ever let it be forgotten.

Setting

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pacing

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Personal Enjoyment

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Plot

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Writing

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Narrator

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Code Orange Problematic Author History

Harper Lee has a Problematic History

The author of this book has said problematic things in the past or has been insensitive to marginalized voices. Please take a moment to click on the poisoned apple and learn more so you are fully educated on his history before choosing to pick up this book.

send me your thoughts

Have you read this book or anything by this author?

If so, did you enjoy it?

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stay magical amber

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Other Books by Harper Lee

2 books found

★★★★

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

★★★½


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