Tuesday, December 11, 2012

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (CBR-IV #48)

Cannonball Read IV: Book #48/52
Published: 1960
Pages: 323
Genre: Classic

This book is on ALL the must-read classics lists, so I figured I should finally read it. Well...this is why I don't like to read classics. It wasn't a bad book -- in fact, it was beautifully written -- but I was just BORED for most of it. 

First of all, the plot (I actually went into this book fairly blind as to the plot. I know this book is a huge classic, but I never really knew what it was about.): It mostly follows two kids, Scout and Jem. They're a brother/sister duo in 1930s Alabama who run into some obstacles when their lawyer father, Atticus, decides to defend a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. 

My favorite thing about this book was the characters. The characters were great and well-written. I loved Scout and how she was a tomboy who wore pants instead of dresses. I loved Atticus and how he saw everyone as people instead of just a skin color. And Calpurnia, their cook, who was an important part of their family. 

I also really enjoyed the actual trial portion of the book. Even though I could guess how it was going to end, I was rooting hard for Atticus. The town's backlash against him and his children was awful to read, but his refusal to stoop to their level was nothing short of admirable. 

However, the trial portion was a fairly short part of the book that doesn't start until at least halfway in (maybe further). The first half of the book was very slow. I get they it was probably to set up characters, but nothing really happens. I was trying to figure out when some sort of plot was going to start besides the summer antics of some bored kids. 

It also took me a little while to figure all of the characters out. At first, I thought Calpurnia was Jem and Scout's step-mother. I also had a hard time remembering that Scout was the girl and Jem was the boy. They also kept referring to their father as "Atticus" rather than "Dad", so that was a little confusing at first too. But there is plenty of time to figure characters out before anything really happens.

I did like the book, even if mostly for the characters and the trial portion. Definitely worth reading at least once in your lifetime, but probably won't be heading onto my re-read list anytime soon.

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