Thursday, January 15, 2015
To Kill a Mockingbird was the December read for the Reading to Know Classic Book Club, picked by Annette @ This Simple Home.
I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school, but that's been so long ago that this seemed like the first time I'd read it. The court scenes were the only parts that were even vaguely familiar. Since I did vaguely remember the court scenes, I had in mind that this book revolved around those particular parts more so than they actually did. I was surprised about how much of the book simply revolved around the life of a little girl, named Scout. (Of course, it's obvious there's so much more going on than that!)
As I first started the book, I realized that this could very well end up being a favorite read of mine. As I finished it, I realized it's probably not a book I'll ever read again, even though I DO appreciate it. I can't help but admire the fact that there's so much going on within the story that I could always be learning something new with each read. That's where the major debate in my mind has started. Will I reread it? I'm still not sure. A black crayon does an amazing job of marking out words I don't care for.
The language is probably my biggest issue concerning the book. There are a couple of words of religious profanity, which is usually enough to make me immediately put down a book. Due to the way it was used, I kept reading, though. (I don't claim I made the right choice, but it is the choice I made.) There was also the constant use of the "n" word. Mercy, how hate that word. I know that it's used in a "true" fashion for the times, but I still hate it. I live in the South. It's still used here. (Since I've never lived outside of the South, I don't know how much it's used in other parts of the world.) If you were to go into a Southern nursing home and let the residents tell about their past, I can pretty much guarantee you'll hear that word, and it's always an uncomfortable position to be in if you dislike the word as much as me. Its use is not limited to elderly folks, though. There's still racism, in many forms, for many skin colors/religions/beliefs. I'm thankful we've came so far from what is in this book, though. I've been reading other books lately about the prejudices towards Jews and anyone with any form of deformities, even birthmarks, during the time of Hitler, Japanese and Mexican Americans during WWII, and Native Americans. I fear for the future of Christians now.
I know perfectly well that eyes are rolling at me for the fact that some of the language *might* keep me away from this book again! For memory's sake, I want to make note of the huge debate that's been happening in my mind, both while reading the book and after I finished it. There's the uncomfortable feeling when reading/watching something that's a good thing...a challenging thing, and there's the uncomfortable feeling that bothers my conscience. I don't claim to always make the right choices, but when my conscience is bothered by something it's time to stop. That's not always an easy choice! (The Chronicles of Narnia is a perfect example right here, because I WANT to finish reading them so badly, but I don't feel right about it, so I don't. The Help is another perfect example.)((Please know that I'm *never* judging someone else for reading/watching something that I don't/can't....unless it's similar to a certain series with a number in it....there might be some judgment there, unfortunately.)) ;)
Here are some things I did like about the book.
One thing that I appreciated was how Lee made it so obvious that Tom was innocent. At first, I kind of sneered at that very fact, but as the story progressed I realized what she had done, and I realized the brilliance of it. I'm saddened that racism was ever that bad. I also appreciated the tie in to Hitler and the Jews at the end. More brilliance!
I also liked the school parts, concerning education. It drives me insane when schools or even doctors change their minds and adapt new methods with every little test/survey/study that comes along with different results. I'm not against public school! I have several nephews in public school, and I know many wonderful teachers that do their best to make sure their children are learning the best way they can, while still trying to work within the boundaries they've been given(and don't care for). Reading this book made me realize that issue has always been around. The whole "common core" change is really nothing new. There will always be changes.
And, Boo! I wish more was told concerning him. Was he social phobic and/or mentally challenged? Was this due to something that happened in his past, or was it just the way he was born? Was he pale due to being cooped up in his house all day, every day, or was he "albino"? This is where I realize how much a reread would do me good, because I feel like I may have missed little details that would give me answers. And then there may not have been answers. Boo just left me wanting more information concerning his life, though. (This is the issue with reading a kindle edition. It's much harder to "flip" through and reread specific parts.)
Once again, I'll say how much I appreciated this book, BUT it's a difficult read due to the subject matter. I'm glad I read it again. There are many parts to give one "food for thought"!
Make sure you check out the round-up post for To Kill a Mockingbird discussion and thoughts. And, please let me know your thoughts on this book if you've read it! I'd love to hear them.