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Radically Inept
Thursday, July 08, 2004
  Want a great read? Try "To Kill a Mocking Bird"

I finished reading "To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Nelle Harper Lee on Monday, and I've been meaning to provide a review. First, let me say, having grown up mostly in the South, though 30 years later, I can tell you she gets it dead on. The advent of air conditioning and television has changed it, and the South of which she wrote disappears more and more, and I guess I've been watching go away, but she nails it.

The book is excellent. Harper Lee captures and provides the atmosphere of the South in the '30s, but the story itself is universal, and could be set in any small town. I can continue to write glowingly about the book, but I'll just say, "Read It".

Now, briefly, two points on the downside: I had seen the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird (1962" many times before reading this book. And the movie is a great adaptation, but as I'm reading, my mind is picturing the actors, and I'm denied the use of my imagination in this area. Albeit, the actors succeed in capturing the characters Ms Lee created, but I think I would have enjoyed the book more had I used my imagination more. The movie does remain one of my favorites, and I can recommend it too, but it's less than the book. See the movie after you've read the book.

The second point, I'm working a lot on improving my fiction writing skills, and I spent a lot of time admiring her turn of phrase, her use of colloquialisms, chapter structure, setting of tone, and especially character development, all of which are phenomenal. Oh, an her use of the little girl, Scout (one of our dogs is named Scout after her), as the vehicle for telling the story is just brilliant. And well, I wish I had been able to read it w/o so much analyzation, because it detracts from the enjoyment. But both of these criticisms are of me, the reader, not the Ms Lee's writing.

I'll put this book in the ranks of Jack London's "The Call of the Wild" and "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Note, all book links lead to online books, so if you want to read them...

Note: Updated 1641hrs EST - The Wife found this, and some of you may already know this, but here is an Author Profile of Harper Lee. I think, somewhere way back in the distant past, I'd heard this, maybe a Truman Capote biography special or something, but the character of 'Dill' is supposedly based on him; they grew up next door to each other. This is the only book she ever published (wrote?), she's living in the town she grew up in, and that she does not like fame and attention. For some reason, I really like knowing that.



 
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