Harper Lee has only ever written one book and that was published fifty-four years ago so it’s doubtful that she’ll ever have another out. Her reasoning for not producing a second novel is that it could never live up to the first. This, indeed, could be true because To Kill a Mockingbird is a really fantastic book.
The whole story is told from point of view of Scout Finch, a little girl growing up in a small town in Alabama called Marycomb. She and her friends Jem and Dill go off and have all kinds of fun in this lovely rural setting. Amidst their childish escapades, they also become curious about a mysterious man named Boo Radley, inadvertently causing him some trouble as they do.
Besides the kids, the other important character in this novel is Atticus Finch (Scout’s father) who is a lawyer. When Scout’s not out having fun, she’s at home talking with her father and we slowly learn about his current case. More and more facts about this are fed to us as the novel goes along and it’s all very intriguing.
Outside of their storylines, the characters are still very likeable. Scout is a loveable little girl with beautifully idealistic view of the world and an adventurous personality and Atticus is a very serious man, always weighing up the moral consequences of actions. Part of what makes this novel so good is the fact that its characters are so endearing.
This is a very well regarded novel and one which certainly has earned it’s reputation. Without wanting to spoil any plot details, the storyline deals with racial issues of the time and it’s especially nice to know that the author was trying to make a difference. But whether you read it for its progressive social attitude, the way it captures lazy summer’s days or simply for portraits of incredible characters, there’s no denying that this is an exceptional novel.
(I wrote an article for Avoid Drowning, read it here.)