(Copied my review from ISBN: 9781572700369 - Read: November 2010)
My goodness I love this book! I read this book way back in school, 8th grade perhaps, I don't recall, but I remember loving it. It's been years since I last read it though, and so this time around, on audio, it was like the first time. As an adult, I picked up on so many nuances and subtleties and adulticisms that Scout and I missed way back when. Scout's a good reporter, in that she is a wonderful observer and has a keen memory, but she's still just a little girl, and as enlightened as she is, she doesn't understand everything she absorbs. But she is a bright, wonderful character, and without her, literature would have a gaping hole right where its heart should be. Cliche, perhaps, but things become cliche because they were true first.
Honestly, there is so very much to love about this book, I don't even know where to start. OK, yes I do. Atticus. I LOVE Atticus. He is such an amazing character. Honest and courteous and upstanding and kind to a fault, I'm sad that he doesn't actually exist. I love how, through Scout's eyes, Atticus is an old man who doesn't do anything, who is always working, who is distant and simply civil to his kids as he is to everyone else, but from the outside looking in, you see that he actually takes an extremely active role with his kids, reading to them, and treating them as people rather than children incapable of understanding anything (at best) or insignificant inconveniences (at worst). He knows them and trusts them and gives them freedom to be who they are and grow into who they will be. He is straightforward and honest with them, and doesn't shy away from telling them the truth, even if it is above them. He leads by example and shows them what true bravery is.
There are hundreds of Atticus quotes that I would love to include here, but my favorite, I think, is "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win."
I love this quote, and it shows just what kind of man Atticus is. He doesn't take the easy road, he takes the RIGHT one.
I love the innocent observations on equality through Scout's eyes. This book does such a brilliant job of showing how children see people as people, and have to be taught their prejudices and to see others' differences. Scout sees people for who they are, but her elders would have her see people for WHAT they are: white or black, well off or dirt poor. I love that Scout is quick to defend those she feels have been wronged, no matter what the situation is. People can't help what they are by the accident of their birth. In this respect, ALL of us are mockingbirds - we've never harmed anyone by our mere existence, but some will still hate and fear based on prejudice and ignorance that they've acquired along the way. The children recognize this in Boo Radley, whom they've feared all their lives, but who teaches them that ignorance is no reason for fear.
This is just such an amazing book. I almost want to start it over again right now. If you haven't read it... You should. It's the type of book that can be life-changing.