To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (1960)


Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winner novel is a classic, and upon reading the book, it is clear why. Dealing with racial tensions, racism, mob mentality and justice, Mockingbird tells the story of the widowed lawyer, Atticus Finch, and his two children, Scout and Jem, as he fights to defend a black man, wrongly standing trial for the rape of a white woman. Told from the perspective of 5 year old Scout, the reader follows the little girl through her education of white privilege and racism. Set in the sweltering South of the United States, Lee creates a world that feels so real the reader loses the sense that they themselves are not in Maycomb County, Alabama. Atticus Finch is, to this day, the zenith of the noble white lawyer stepping in to defend the black man, when no one else will. In our current day, this in itself is a form of racism, but in 1960, it was considered an example of an alliance that white people need to step in to protect their black neighbours from racism. In a way, Atticus Finch was an original Ally. Atticus teaches Jem and Scout that one must do right, no matter the cost. He encouraged independent and critical thought, and allowed his children to call him by his first name. While many will have read Mockingbird in high school, whether you did or not, and whether you enjoyed it or not, I beseech you to pick it up and read it now. It is well written, classic yet timely, and ideal for reading in the summer. (376 pgs)

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