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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 6 December 2006
Before I start this review I want to say that I think To Kill a Mockingbird is a brilliant novel and it easily gets five stars. This review is of this book specifically. I happen to have both this edition and an older version printed in the 70s, and I'm afraid they seem to have strangely edited it. A couple of bits are cut out for no apparant reason - pages 191 and 280 - and I really can't fathom why they did it. The old version is far better. Footlights is changed to floodlights, another really weird and miniscule change which I know doesn't make any difference whatsoever, but why the hell did they change it in the first place? There are loads of misprints also, which don't appear in the older version. I know that normal people (unlike me) won't care, but I'd really advise you to buy a different edition if you can find one, as the changes on 191 and 280 are quite major, and neither of the changes are improvements. I want to repeat that I think the book itself is brilliant and deserves five stars, but get a different edition.
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on 17 March 2003
I must have read this story at least five times in the two or so years since I first picked up a copy, sometimes returning right back to the start after closing the book. I only wish I could remain immersed in Harper Lee's bygone age and beautifully crafted characters, and not have to reach that last page.
The main thread of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' is the trial of a black man, the symbolic 'mockingbird' of the title, who is accused of raping a white woman, but I much prefer the subtext of a widower father struggling to raise his children with the correct values in a deeply prejudiced society. The story is told through the eyes of the eight year old daughter, 'Scout', which at once paints a more honest picture of events whilst presenting a biased opinion of the central adult protagonist. Whether or not Scout is blinded by love for her father, Atticus Finch is probably one of the most heroic characters in fiction, and a role model for fathers everywhere. Although the trial itself is a tense moment in the story, and educational from a historical point of view, it is the Finch family dynamic that has made me so attached to this story. The first part of the book, when the children are younger and still relatively blind to the world that surrounds them, provides the most enjoyable reading.
I don't know whether it is a good or bad thing that Harper Lee has only written this one story, because I doubt 'To Kill A Mockingbird' could be surpassed. Scout's narration presents both a child's world in adult terms, and an adult world from a child's point of view, providing much comic relief amidst the drama and heartfelt emotion.
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on 26 January 2016
If you’ve never read (or perhaps not even heard of) To Kill a Mockingbird, then I’m sorry but you ought to be shot for crimes against literature. This lovely (and occasionally disturbing) story was, until recently, the only book that Lee ever published, but what a book it is – if you’re only going to publish one book, you might as well take your chance to tear the world apart with the serious questions on race and ethics that you pose to your reader, like Miss Lee did.

The story-line is reasonably well-known, and so I don’t want to go into it too much – broadly speaking, though, it follows the Finch family as the children’s father, Atticus Finch, attempts to defend a black man in a trial. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what the result is, but it’s actually the journey that conveys most of the story.

Racial discrimination was clearly still a problem in America as the 1950s turned into the 1960s, and whilst I accept that it’s still a problem in our current troubled times, it was even worse back in the day. Harper Lee doesn’t seem to be a fan of outright racism, and so her magnum opus was effectively designed to highlight the inherent unfairness that many people of colour were forced to endure.

To Kill a Mockingbird, then, isn’t just a novel – it’s a piece of history, and a key piece of literature in the war to create an enlightened, civilised world where people don’t kill each other for no reason or try to classify one another based upon their physical appearance. As Lee proves, there’s so much more to a person than their skin colour – it’s a lesson we can all learn from.
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on 8 August 2007
I first read this book when I was very young, too young to understand it, and then again when I was at school. But this is one of those books that becomes more profound, more accessible and more relevant the more you read it.

On the surface, it is a tale of racial prejudice in the search for justice, but in fact the story goes beyond that. It is about all prejudices, about the importance of walking around in someone else's shoes in order to truly understand them. Jem and Scout are delightfully child-like, and the effect of a hindsight narrative only adds to the many layers to be found here. Atticus Finch is the man to beat all men - he is the ideal father, the ideal man. He stands for justice, for righteousness and for "fighting back", even when you know you have lost. He is the ideal against which all men should be measured.

This is the most brilliant story of one community's injustice in small-town America, the consequences of which resonate throughout society at large. There has never been (and can never be) another "To Kill a Mockingbird", and the most amazing thing about this novel is that it can be read, re-read and read again generation after generation, and its magic only ever increases. A must-have in your collection!
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on 22 September 2010
As an avid reader, with a very catholic taste in books, this novel has always been a huge favourite of mine. I first read it as a teenager, and loved it without really fully understanding it's depth.
The storyline is both simple and at the same time complex, and I have come back to it several times over the years.
I love being read to, even as a very grown up woman!! So when I saw that Sissy Spacek had recorded it, I just had to buy it. And WOW..!!
This lady reads it so well, you are there, living in the Deep South, with Scout and Jem. I have many Audio Books, but I have yet to hear one read SO brilliantly. If you are thinking of perhaps buying it, I urge you to do so, you will have hours of pleasure to look forward to.
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on 19 March 2007
There are many great books... and there are some books that, when read, stay with you forever. Harper Lee has written one of those books - To Kill A Mockingbird. Written from the perspective of a child (Scout Finch) it holds within it's pages an innocence that I have rarely found in any other book. This book may change the way you think... it may change your life... it will certainly make you wish for an era long gone - or one that may have never even existed, save for in the brilliant mind of Harper Lee.

But any students studying this book for an exam, be warned! Read the book, and do not try to cheat or take a short cut by watching the film. The book is written entirely from a childs point of veiw - and the film is definitely from the perspective of Scout and Jems father, Atticus Finch.

I've read this book maybe fifty times... and I'd still read it again, and again. Rarely is a book of this calibre written - don't miss out and pass it aside.
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on 1 August 2010
I read this book while on holiday and had a bit of trouble to begin with it... It is one of those books that is so well written and has so many insights that you really have to be paying attention whist reading (hard when travelling).

The book only really starts in earnest around about a third of the way in, so you have to be a little patient to get to the crux of the matter (admittedly I don't read blurbs so didn't know what direction the book was going to take).

However, once underway, this book is a pearl of wisdom and humanity. The story of Scout and her family is simply stunning in its scope. By adopting to tell the story from a child's point-of-view, Lee has been able to deal with profound topics about humanity and injustice in a way that is accessible, funny and highly engaging.

The standout areas for me revolved around Atticus' explanations and empathy for others. I'm trying to adjust some of my thinking in my life based on what I've read in this book. Thoughts, like the fact we can and should try to put ourselves in others peoples shoes are so well explained.

For me, this book could be thought studied as a form of philosophy; the core principles revolving around empathy and pacifism. In today's world of terrorism and Pre-emptive Wars I wish more politicians (who've probably read this book) would go back to it adopt Harper Lee's doctrine.

I am not usually one to re-read books (after all, I'll never get through all the books I still want to read in this lifetime) but I suspect that this book will become one exception. There are so many treasures, insights and nuggets of wisdom that I didn't quite capture in my first read. Highly, highly recommended.
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on 7 July 2010
If you loved reading the book or have seen the movie - you can't fail to enjoy this audio version. Sissy Spacek has exactly the right voice, and in particular, her portrayal of Scout Finch is mesmerising.
This masterful reading brings the world of Maycomb County vividly to life. And at such a bargain price, it is a must-have for fans of the book.
Buy it now - you will not be disappointed!
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VINE VOICEon 26 February 2011
Harper Lee was encouraged to write some of her childhood memories. What in the beginning seems like the story of three childhood friends in depression era Macomb, Alabama, turns out to be packed with insights to the makeup of human kind.

This story is intriguing on many levels from the history of the area to the stereotyping of people. Most of all every turn was a surprise as told in the first person from the view of Scout Finch. And instead of telling the story in a six year old vocabulary she uses an exceptionally large repertoire to describe the people and events. This story is not as slow passed as one may guess from first glance as every remark and every action will be needed for a future action.

A major controversial part of the story is the trial of Tom Robinson. Hoverer this is just a catalyst to help Scout understand the nature of people including her father Atticus and you will find that as important as it is it is just a part of the story with other major characters such as Arthur "Boo" Radley.

Even thought it appears that Scout is the recipient of the insights, I believe we the reader is the real recipient.

I can truly say that this book has changed my outlook in life.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Collector's Edition)

Harper Lee (Up Close)
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on 7 June 2013
If i was to describe this book, that is probably what I'd say. But this is what Amazon says

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.

When beginning this book i was a bit like meh. its alright. It wasn't so gripping, but it was intruiging. I have not read an actual American classic, and i do this the dialect did actually make me want to read it, i think i read it in a southern /texas accent (i think thats the one im thinking of). The book begins with the main protagonist Jean Louis Finch, also known as Scout. The book doesn't have a particular plot in my opinion. it exploits judgment, namecalling and it praises those who have the decency to not follow that crowd. The message i got from this book was probably, 'no matter what happens, no matter how much stuff you may go through, you do NOT have the right to judge other people. Life isn't there for you to obsess on trivial matters. Respect those around you, respect the ones of a different color, a different age, a different gender, a different background. Because as Harper Lee says: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it"'

The point that touched me is the fact that Scout is SO young. she's 8. Yet she's so intelligent, so smart, sure of herself and confident despite the world she lives in. Her brother Jem, another stron character who faces the loss of his mother alongside people in the neighbourhood. He like Scout are stubborn and motivated to do the right thing enforced by their father Atticus. Now Atticus? where do we meet lawyers in the real world who WANT to do the right thing without incrimination. Without caring what is said. Harper Lee has bound together probably the strongest family bond i have seen. Racism is a huge deal today as it was then. Terrorists, Murderers, Rapists they're everywhere. The only thing thats probably changed in society is the amount of people who stand up to it. Yeah people have become more confident in sharing their voice. But the media makes an ordeal out of control. This influences many young people to pretty much go out and do exactly what they see, may it be as small as drinking underage, to religious extremists. Like the Finch family, every individual is influenced by what they see. The victim in Atticus' case was treated like a human by Tom the 'black man'. She appreciated this until she made physical contact with him. See a person can think bad things all they want, they can think of good things and evil things. but it is only when you act upon them you realise the extent of significance an action may have upon you and others.

Being indian myself, i have never actually experienced a racism attack upon myself. I live in an multicultural environment. I have black, white, muslim and sikh friends. But that is not what makes them my friends. The person itself is the only thing that should be important....which i think is what Ms. Lee is trying to say. Having this viewpoint seen through the eyes of an 8 year old is horrendous. I like how Scout is still an innocent bystander, yeah she hears her father being racially insulted. But she acts upon the fact her father is laughed upon rather than 'loving' another colour. Which she later understands. Another situation is when she hears about a classmate. she says he is poor, but too proud to borrow money. she then goes on to hurt him. and only when the teacher is annoyed by her defending of this child (funny how shes got the skills of a lawyer in her haha). She is unable to understand violence cannot resolve a matter, nor did she understand by explaining his situation she probably was well appreciated. but Atticus and Jem are key characters to her development and to her understanding

At one point in the book Miss Maudie (a neighbor) suggests 'Mockingbirds don't do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corn cribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' This point is significnt, in fact the whole title is. When Tom Robinson dies his death is 'likened...to the senseless slaught of songbirds by hunters and children'. the connection between the two is brutal, yet in my eyes it makes the novel. Tom Robinson is a mockinbird...actually no the colour of the skin is the mockingbird and the hunters and the children are those who agree with racism. The skin is the thing that doesnt eat gardens or nest in corncribs. it is the person who will sing their heart out and make music. In other words skin doesn't affect any thing, however a persons ability and attitude is the only thing we should focus on to question them/dislike them/like them. In other words, if their song is bad, they're bad people.

So i really did adore this book. and i think you should definatley check it out. Do not be put of by the 'classic' read aspect of it. Its pretty 'normal' in the sense that its readable no 'thy' 'thou' or 'shalt' aha. Definatley a recommendation

Has anyone read this? what are your thoughts
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