Today’s Throwback Thursday is a real classic, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and one of only two books I’ve read more than once*: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
You should almost certainly buy a copy of this for your bookshelf if you don’t already have it (you likely already do: it sold it’s first copy in 1960, and has sold another 40 million since. At least 15 of those copies are down to me – I used to keep copies under my bed that I gave out whenever someone told me they hadn’t read it). To Kill a Mockingbird deserves every last one of its plaudits. It’s so good, you’ll find yourself slowing down towards the end so that you can enjoy it longer.
Scout Finch is a firecracker of a girl, growing up in the fictional town of Maycomb County, Alabama during the depression. Her father, Atticus, is a local lawyer who takes on the case of black man falsely accused of rape. As her father fights the case, the whole town comes under the glare of Scout’s microscope – from Boo Radley (a reclusive neighbour), to the cantankerous Mrs. Henry Lafeyette Dubose (“plain hell” as Scout describes her). Both Radley and Mrs. Dubose contribute to the education of 5 year old scout – in fact, all of Maycomb County contributes in some way as Scout grows up.
This setting lets Lee explore racism, the loss of innocence, class, courage and compassion amongst other things, all with a style that is dramatic, funny, and incredibly moving. I’m almost certain you’ll fall in love with it. All of the characters have stuck with me even though I first read it over twenty years ago.
Best of all, this book has been around so long that you’ll definitely know someone who has it, so you can borrow it for nothing. Or even if you don’t, you can still pick it up for cheap in most charity bookshops – and it’s only 83p on Waterstones Marketplace or 90p on Amazon.
I can’t recommend To Kill a Mockingbird enough.
* The other is the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. Also a Pulitzer Prize winner.