To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Blurb (From amazon.com):
"The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior - to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature."
This is one of my all time favorite books! It is a classic and still a great read! I read it in school and have reread it several times. I appreciate it more every time I read it. Atticus Finch is a single father raising his two children, Jem and Scout. He has a nanny that cooks and takes care of the children, and she is an African-American woman. Next door to them lives Boo Radley, who never comes out of the house. The story goes through the trials of being a single father, growing up in the 1930's, and the relationships between races at that time. Atticus is a lawyer who is asked to defend an African-American boy accused of raping a white girl. Harper Lee did a very good job in this book. It is very well written. I love the way she writes. I love her descriptions, her character development, and the way she seamlessly traverses difficult subjects. I love the lessons that are taught in this book. It is timeless. The issues brought up in the book are still in the news today; I love books whose messages are relevant to all ages and eras. I wish some of the issues in this book were no longer issues today; however, since they are still issues, books like this are great to help us see beyond the trees and into the forest.
There are some very adult issues discussed in this book that may be too much for younger readers to understand and deal with. (Do I really want to go into rape with my 11 year-old son? No.) There is the rape trial and other racial issues. With that said, older junior high students (9th grade) and high school students will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Rated: PG-13 (Racial issues and a rape trial.)
Recommendation: High School and Up. This is a great read for a high school English class. This book may be appropriate for a mature 9th grader as well. As is always the case, I recommend that parents read this book first to determine whether or not their child is mature enough to handle the issues discussed.
*This review was originally posted on 4/28/09, but has been updated.