Yup, I am one of those people who have jumped on the bandwagon and read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird before Lee’s new book came out. Here’s the odd thing about me reading this book: I was never required to read it in school. Usually in high school this is the first book they throw at you. I did have to read The Giver twice, though.
Anyway, I read this not just because they found Lee’s old manuscript for Go Set a Watchman, but also this is one of those “must read” books. What did I think of the book? The short answer can be found in this video I used in my Brave New World review.
The long answer, I found most of the book boring. Yes, that’s right. A book that many people love was an instant best-seller when it came out and won Lee a Pulitzer bored me. You see, the writing is phenomenal. Lee has a knack for writing I can give her that. The way the characters speak and how she describes things feel like they are real. I was able to hear the Southern accents in their speech.
The problem I had with the book is that nothing interesting happens. Notice how I said nothing interesting instead of nothing? That’s because stuff does happen, but they are pretty dull. Scout and Jem go to school. Scout and Jem celebrate Christmas with a cousin they hate. Jem ruins a neighbor’s flower bed and must read to her.
You see, these things are mundane. Not that there’s anything wrong with writing about mundane things. House on Mango Street, A Streetcar Named Desire and Annie John do wonderful jobs at making the mundane interesting. The problem with Mockingbird is that these particular mundane events are not interesting. They’re too mundane to be exact.
The best part of the book is the trial scene. This scene is pretty one the biggest reasons people read this book. The thing is, the trial does not start until page 160 and lasts for about 60 pages. This scene had it all. It was suspenseful, well-written and it showed one of the book’s biggest themes: Racism. You see, here it’s a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. Everything the woman and her dad didn’t add up which meant Atticus had it in the bag. But, since this does take place in 193os Alabama, the black man was found guilty. Not only is that racist, but it’s downright unjust.
It’s too bad that the events of the trial had very little impact on the plot or the characters. Hell, the book even says people in Maycomb forgot about it.
In the end, I’m glad I read this book because I just crossed something off my bucket list. However, I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to. It was way too boring. I will read Go Set a Watchman when I get from my library (I’m number 242 on the list. Yup, it’s that popular) and there will be a review posted here. It will take a while, but don’t worry; I have other projects in mind.