To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This one needs no introduction, but rather embarrassingly I'd never read it! I missed studying it for GCSE English, instead reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Since getting over the assumption that because this was a GCSE set text it must be pants, it has been firmly on my 'to read' list. The problem is, my to read list is pretty extensive and made worse by my fairly regular trips to Oxfam books where I pick up a couple of new reads each time. When I saw that Harper Lee was releasing the prequel to this (Go Set a Watchman) I knew it was about time I finally got my arse in gear and read it.
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of Scout and Jem Finch and their father Atticus, the local lawyer, and their struggles with racism, bigotry and inequality in 1930s America. The novel starts with Jem and Scout's obsession with local recluse Boo Radley, and later develops to follow the controversial case of Tom Robinson. Controversial because Tom is a black man charged with raping a white woman, and Atticus is hired to defend him. The book tells the story of how Atticus teaches his children to be fair and considerate, despite living in a neighbourhood with a very different view of diversity.
I loved this book. The topics of race and inequality really interest me and this was a great account, from a child's perspective, of morality and compassion in the face of small-town, small-minded bigotry. As most others, I saw Atticus as a complete hero and the picture of strong ethics and morals. I am just left with the question; why did it take me so long to read this?!
Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? What about Go Set a Watchman?