Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has read “To Kill A Mockingbird.” It’s a high-school rite of passage. Everyone, it seems…except me. For some reason, my high school English classes were following a “Non-Western Authors” curriculum, so while we did read novels like The Good Earth and Things Fall Apart, the great American and English novels got slighted by our teachers. Well, since one of the line items is “A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t,” I figured it was time I read it.
I was surprised by how readable Mockingbird is – I’d just assumed it would be the same sort of dense, difficult-to-parse novel that we often find in high school classrooms. But the story of Scout and her big brother goofing off and learning about the ways of the folks of Maycomb is entertaining and amiably-paced. Not exactly racing, but more like a Maycomb citizen out for a pleasant constitutional stroll after dinnertime.
It’s easy to see why Mockingbird is an English-class staple; the contrast between the supposedly idyllic life of the Maycomb citizens and the underlying prejudice and racism endemic to the town is palpable. Scout’s frustrated lack of comprehension of the adults’ obvious hypocrisy is thoroughly relatable, and I finished the book bursting with profound thoughts about who exactly was the Mockingbird in the story. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s definitely worth a look.
Up Next: I got BYOBook club recommendations from my Facebook friends, and one of them will fulfill the line for “A book a friend recommended”. Stay tuned!