I wasn’t really sure what to make of To Kill a Mockingbird when I started it. It is a classic that I never read in school but had a vague knowledge of it due to popular culture and also nine times out of ten when you read a YA book where the characters have a literature class, they’re studying To Kill a Mockingbird.
The story is quite slow and I couldn’t figure out where it was going sometimes. A lot of what happens is quite mundane, everyday stuff of two children growing up – having fun in the summer, going to school, making friends and watching the neighbours. It’s not till about half way through the book you see the threads being pulled together and the case Atticus Finch is taking.
Scout is a wonderful character. She’s an innocent child and while she’s smart and enjoys reading, she hasn’t yet had her eyes opened to how the world works and how it (and people) can be cruel. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious and she is a great narrator – it’s not often I’ve read a story from a child’s eyes.
The scenes in the court are tense. They’re all from Scout’s point of view who believes in the justice system and her father so it’s quite sad when she comes to realise that everything isn’t always fair. I especially liked Jem’s reaction to the situation and how he is really forced to grow up and after the court case he is no longer a child.
Jem and Scout’s relationship as siblings and friends is very touching a realistic. They have respect for their father but like to go on adventures and push the boundaries. Atticus Finch is a quiet man and an admirable character – the scenes in the courtroom make you want to believe in the justice system.
I found To Kill a Mockingbird quite slow to start with and it was the characters that kept me interested. I can see why it’s a classic, it touches upon some important themes such as race and class, but it didn’t really pull me in. 3/5.