to kill a mockingbird book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

I must confess that I have not read this book until now. It’s been in my to-be-read pile for a long time, but something else always got picked first. In light of Harper Lee’s recently released second novel, it’s a good time to read or reread this literary classic. The new book, Go Set a Watchman is set in the same Maycomb County with many of the same characters, twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird.

This novel revolves around a court case that affects the Finch family and the inhabitants of the small town in ways they couldn’t have imagined. The story is interwoven with the mysterious Boo Radley who has been hidden in his house by his parents for his entire life. The story is narrated by Jean Louise “Scout” as she grows up along side her brother, Jeremy “Jem” and friend, “Dill”. Jem and Scout’s father, Atticus, is a lawyer assigned to defend a black man from the allegations of a white man.

In a small town in Maycomb County, Alabama, these three young children are curious about their neighbor, Boo Radley. The trio acts out plays about who Boo Radley is and why he’s being hidden within his house. There are many legends and stories about Boo, but there is no one to tell them the truth, so they play out many different scenarios themselves. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the Deep South in the 1960s. The novel explores race, class and social issues through the eyes of young Scout. It’s a story that transforms her, the town and the reader.

Lee’s characters are enduring, thoughtful and memorable. Lee describes the setting and time frame that transports you to the time and place. It’s easy to see why this book is still being read, as the issues are just as relevant today as they are within this novel. The novel is compassionate, thought provoking and illuminates the human condition. It is simply written and easy to read, but its meaning is powerful and unforgettable.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

No review copy was provided. A personal copy of the book was used for this review.