Have you ever been to a court trial before? If my memory serves me right, I’ve only been to a courthouse once in my life. It was the time when my mother asked if I wanted to join her at one of the court hearings involving our family and an adjacent neighbor on a case of property encroachment. That was more than ten years ago, and we eventually won our case. I don’t remember much about what happened in there, but the experience led me to this conclusion: I abhor courthouses next to morgues.
The book I’m about to give a once-over today has something to do with the law. You see law is not just a word in the dictionary. Rules exist for men to obey; however, to some, breaking them mean more than following them.
This novel by Harper Lee may be considered a one-hit wonder, but it’s one that earned the author numerous honorary degrees. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with the issues of racism that were observed by the author as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
How does one write a book review for a work as good as this? No wonder this novel was listed among the Best Novels of the Century. To be honest, I had to read twice (maybe even thrice) the first few pages because the story kicked off with a lot of characters at once. I had to make mental notes of their names, thinking they will be essential in the succeeding parts of the story. It did give me a headache initially, but I got the hang of it as I go on with the story.
The book was divided into two parts. I must say that as you progress with the book, you will find it even more irresistible. The first part mainly illustrates the childhood of the main characters, Jem Finch, Scout Finch, and Dill Harris. How their friendship evolved from their desire to discover the mystery behind Arthur “Boo” Radley to involving in their father’s, perhaps, most controversial trial case. The second part, however, focused mostly on the Mayella Ewell–Tom Robinson case. My favorite part of the story was the court trial scene, thus my introduction to this entry.
I particularly admired how Atticus Finch instilled worthy values to his children without compromising their desire to enjoy their childhood. In his own words, he carefully explained to his children—most especially Scout—how things are in their community. The kids’ exposure to the entire Tom Robinson case opened their eyes to the reality of racism.
In my opinion, racism does not only pertain to the difference between white and colored people. This social stratification exists in most parts of the world. It only boils down to taking a stand on what one deems right and just. We, Filipinos, can well attest to that, but I don’t feel the necessity to elaborate on that here. If you want to know why I gave this book such ratings, I highly recommend that you add this to your to-read list, too.
Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.
—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
- Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird (storytreasury.wordpress.com)