To Kill a Mockingbird
First published in 1960, this Pulitzer-prizewinning novel deals with hard-hitting issues of racial inequality and rape, but it’s a novel woven with warmth and humour, told from the perspective of six-year-old Jean Louise Finch - better known as ‘Scout’. She recounts her life in the small, tired town of Maycomb, Alabama, where she and her brother Jeremy (‘Jem’) and her father, local attorney Atticus Finch, live. Through her eyes, we meet their mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, and watch the story of small-town bigotry unfold when Atticus is appointed to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, who is accused of raping a young white woman.
Sometimes, studying a book at school can have the effect of putting you off it for the rest of your days, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for me when it comes to re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I tend to re-visit this book every couple of years and, although I might already know how the story ends, it’s the nuggets of wisdom and acute observations about the human condition that continue to have meaning. Now, as we continue to weather the storm of a viral pandemic in the ‘real’ world, I find myself picking this book up again to immerse myself in Lee’s fictional world to gather some perspective and, as always, it’s a revelation.
Where to find it