I'm not someone who really subscribes to the notion that there are certain books you 'should' have read.For me reading is all about what's enjoyable and will maintain my interest, I couldn't really care less about the '100 Books you should Read before you Die' type stuff.However,there are a handful of books I really don't understand why I havent read by now,and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is one of them. After seeing a review on a blog recently from someone else who'd owned a copy for several years but hadn't read it I decided to finally do it.
I won't bother with a plot summary because I'm sure most people gave an idea what it's about.This book deals with all manner of issues surrounding tolerance as well as the realities of small-town life and how difficult it can be to operate outside the norm.It also does a great job at showing how integral you upbringing is in terms of the values you are introduced to and the lessons you are taught via your family.
When it is done well,using a child as a narrator can be a skilful technique,something which may well have begun with this book.Scout is an excellent filter through which to experience the world of this book.She is charmingly honest and never afraid to question actions she cannot comprehend.She is also very wilful and a bit of a smarty pants which I love.These characteristics really make Scout feel alive on the page and I have such a vivid image of her in my head as a result.Her innocence also gave me the needed distance from the depressing nature of many of the events in the book.Scout won't allow herself to be beaten down by all of the cruelties that unfold,and that stops things from ever feeling bleak or depressing.Many of the things that happen are sad,infuriating and avoidable yet they are also exceptionally believable.
I am always fascinated by the insights a book can provide into the dynamics inside the family and that's something which is dealt with expertly here.I really felt like I got to know the Finch family and although at times it felt hopeless I was really rooting for Atticus.I admired him a lot as a character and I never felt like he compromised his family and their wellbeing despite the enormity of his job.So often in books I find fathers are barely developed stoical figures or controlling, so I loved Atticus all the more for being a Father that was really setting an example.
I would definitely recommend this book as a timeless story with themes that still resonate today,and is a very memorable tale with a great moral core.