To Kill a Mockingbird is one of most true-to-life novels I have ever read. Harper Lee, the author, had the novel published in 1960. The book is loosely based on Lee’s childhood growing up in the 1930s. Themes include prejudice, injustice, and tolerance. After reading the novel, the reader will come away with a deeper respect for the universal saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!”
To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in a 1930s small, southern, but conversational town. Brimming with contradiction, the novel is full of racism, hypocrisy, fear, doubt, and sexism existing alongside kindness and graciousness. In some ways the world has not changed, we continue to face the same contradictions. How we choose to deal with injustice shows what kind of character we possess. In the novel each person’s character is revealed by how they respond to certain events.
At some point in the book the reader steps into each character’s shoes, and the novel’s characters bring this exceptionally dynamic story to life. There is Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout, the sassy, spunky six year old protagonist; Jem Finch, Scout’s prankish older brother; her father Atticus Finch, the honorable lawyer, who acts as the town’s moral compass; and the gentle Tom Robinson who stands accused. Ultimately there is the heartbreaking Arthur Radley, who proves you should never judge others by petty rumors, but by what a person does. As Atticus said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
To Kill a Mockingbird tells the story of how a town and two children grew up in the course of three years. When Tom Robinson, an African American man, is wrongly accused of raping Mayella, a young white woman, the town’s prejudices are revealed. All the while, the children wage their own war against the town ghost who hasn’t been seen in years, Arthur Radley. In the end the children learn to reserve their judgment—no longer judging people by the way they look or what others say about them.
The book is a timeless classic because anyone can relate to the story, any and every reader has judged someone by their cover or someone has judged the reader by theirs. I highly recommend To Kill a Mockingbird, for all ages. Don’t judge this book by its cover!
-Review by Blake D. (15)