Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
Author: Harper Lee
Page Count/Review Word Count: 314
If you’ve never read (or perhaps not even heard of) To Kill a Mockingbird, then I’m sorry but you ought to be shot for crimes against literature. This lovely (and occasionally disturbing) story was, until recently, the only book that Lee ever published, but what a book it is – if you’re only going to publish one book, you might as well take your chance to tear the world apart with the serious questions on race and ethics that you pose to your reader, like Miss Lee did.
The story-line is reasonably well-known, and so I don’t want to go into it too much – broadly speaking, though, it follows the Finch family as the children’s father, Atticus Finch, attempts to defend a black man in a trial. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what the result is, but it’s actually the journey that conveys most of the story.
Racial discrimination was clearly still a problem in America as the 1950s turned into the 1960s, and whilst I accept that it’s still a problem in our current troubled times, it was even worse back in the day. Harper Lee doesn’t seem to be a fan of outright racism, and so her magnum opus was effectively designed to highlight the inherent unfairness that many people of colour were forced to endure.
To Kill a Mockingbird, then, isn’t just a novel – it’s a piece of history, and a key piece of literature in the war to create an enlightened, civilised world where people don’t kill each other for no reason or try to classify one another based upon their physical appearance. As Lee proves, there’s so much more to a person than their skin colour – it’s a lesson we can all learn from.