To Kill a Mockingbird | Book Review

To Kill a Mockingbird Book Summary and Review


To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel of modern American literature. It was written by Harper Lee and was published in 1960. The novel won Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Thus, it was an immediate success.

The novel contains 31 chapters and it is divided into two parts; 11 chapters in part 1 and the remaining 20 chapters are in part 2.

Book Review of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Like every other reader as they say it; when I started the novel, I found it quite boring. I found it hard to follow the story. In other words, the story took time before it would reveal itself to me. However, in the latter part of the book, it becomes an interesting read.

The novel is mostly narrated in the first person from a child’s perspective ‘Jean Louise (Scout) Finch’. She is an intelligent girl. When the novel starts, she was six years old. However, later on, we find her nine years old. The novel is centered upon her.

As I said, the story takes time to reveal itself, it was after reading almost half of the novel that one finds the theme and the storyline. Mostly, readers quit reading this novel because they find it boring in the initial stage. But, this novel is a must-read. It becomes a real pageturner.

To Kill a Mockingbird is banned in most of the states of America over racism concerns. The main story is about the trial and prosecution of Tom Robinson (a Negro) charged with a rape crime. He was indicted for raping a white girl. But, he was innocent. Overall, the novel depicts the persecution of the coloured (black) people at the hands of white.

Atticus Finch is another main character of the novel. He is the father of Scout Finch, the girl that we have talked about above. He is a lawyer who fights the case of Tom Robinson in court. Atticus is a thorough gentleman and an ideal character who inspires the readers. This character is the one prominent reason why one should read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

What makes the novel boring at the start?

The novel fails to hook the attention of the reader at its start. The childhood adventures of the siblings along with Dill (another child character) of making Boo Radley (whom they are afraid of) come out of his house are uninteresting.

Moreover, the first two paragraphs of the novel can only be understood after completing the novel. Even, the starting line of the novel reveals no sense to the reader. To understand it, one has to end the novel.

When he was nearly thirteen my (Scout’s) brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow…

As the story is narrated from the child’s perspective, it slightly appears immature in tone. Moreover, the other characters like Aunt Stephanie Crawford, Walter Cunningham, Reverend Sykes, etc. introduced to us in the novel appear dull and boring.

Lastly, the novel has an unwanted narration of multiple disconnected incidents/events that one might find boring.

What makes the novel interesting?

First and foremost, the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ teaches us multiple life lessons. Especially, the character of Atticus Finch is so refined. He is an ideal father, an ideal lawyer, as well a citizen. His way of looking at things changes our own perceptions of things. He understands the psyche of people. Further, he is quite capable of looking at positive sides in negative circumstances. In short, we have many lessons to learn in his character alone.

Moreover, the trial of Tom Robinson and Atticus’ way of cross-examining the witnesses is interesting. The novel also depicts how blacks are/were treated in America. It shows the racial discrimination in that society.

The novel also introduces us to children’s psychology and their way of looking at things.

What does ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ symbolizes?

Mockingbird is a songbird found mainly in tropical America. It is an innocent bird that does no harm to anyone. In the novel, it mainly symbolizes Tom Robinson (who depicts the situation of negroes in America). In short, the title of the novel symbolizes the persecution (killing of Tom Robinson) of black people by white in America.

Final Thoughts

This review of To Kill a Mockingbird is based on my personal views and opinion of the novel. I would highly recommend this novel to you. Even if you find it dull and boring in the beginning; you will get hooked to it somehow near its mid.

Novel Rating

On Goodreads, the novel is rated as 4.28/5.

On Common Sense Media,  it is rated as 5/5.

I will rate this novel a 3.5/5.


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