Why I Love “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Often, I’ll say I like a book because of the characters, or the plot, or the tone, or all three of the above. Sometimes, there is an extra special book that has more to it than characters, plot, and tone. To Kill A Mockingbird was a very influential book to me. It had characters, it had tone, and most importantly, it shows readers the importance of fighting for what is right.

Boo Radley and Judgment

Harper Lee’s book opens one hot, Southern summer.  A new boy, whose nickname is Dill, has moved to town. Scout and her older brother, Jem, spend the summer playing with Dill. The trio’s favorite game is to play “Boo Radley.”

Boo Radley  lives is the house across from Scout and Jem’s, and has never been seen by the townsfolk.  Scout, Jem, and Dill make up terrible stories about Boo.  They have a game of sneaking up as close as they dared go to the house, then running away.

Soon the children start finding gifts of gum and candy in a hollow tree, put there by Boo Radley for them.  Slowly, Scout realizes that perhaps Boo Radley is not a terrifying lunatic, but rather a nice old man.  This experience with Mr. Radley will influence Scout later in the book and in her life.

I love the lesson Scout learns here. She thinks she is stupid, but her father, Atticus Finch, tells her that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”[1] She begins to understand this when she realizes that Boo Radley, the eccentric man that the children of the town fear greatly, is actually a shy, kind man.

Justice and Injustice

Soon the children at school start mocking Scout and Jem about their “nigger-loving” father.  They tell Scout and Jem that Atticus took on a case to defend a black man, and ridicule the two because of it.  Atticus informs the children that it is true; he did take on the case, and asks them to endure the taunts of their friends.

Scout and Jem want to know more about the case, so they sneak into the trial to witness something that will change their lives.  Tom Robinson has been accused of raping a white woman named Mayella.  

Atticus has a brilliant defense and Tom a believable story, while Mayella Ewell and her father have a farfetched story that doesn’t seem to be true.  Despite all appearances, the all-white jury convicts Tom of the offense, a capital offense in 20th century Alabama.  

This part of the book is one of my favorites because it is here that Atticus shows Scout and Jem how to fight for justice, even if they know they will lose. She asks Atticus why he would defend Tom when he knew he would lose.  Atticus tells Scout that true bravery is just that: fighting for the right thing even if it seems hopeless.

Finally, I love this book because Scout learns that the world is unfair and figures out how to deal with it.  Tom Robinson shouldn’t have been ruled guilty.  Boo Radley shouldn’t have had such a hard life or been ridiculed by her and the other children.  Bob Ewell, the father of the white woman that accused Tom, should not have carried a grudge against her father.  She learns that the world is unfair, and the only thing she can do about it is to love.


[1] Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (HarperPerennial, New York), p. 33.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird? What did you think? Who was your favorite character?

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Review of Bridgers: A Parable

Bridgers: A Parable

Title: Bridgers: A Parable
Author: Angie Thompson
Publisher: Quiet Waters Press
Released: November 21, 2017

Summary

Peyton is a boy with a bright future. He attends church, says the right things, and is even reaching his dream of becoming a preacher.

Davonte comes from the wrong side of town. He’s not necessarily a bad kid, and just wants to be left alone, but in school and in town he can tell that people have some opinions about him.

Levi’s the pastor’s son. He knows what he is supposed to do, but he’s shy and nervous, and struggles to stay committed to his faith when pressures arise.

These boys all have the same choice to make, and only one of them steps past expectations and stigmas in order to truly help another in need. The choices they make will influence their entire community.

Review

This book blew me away. To be honest, I skimmed the description and picked it for the cover. It was as much and more than I was expecting. Angie’s characters are amazing, and it’s impossible not to relate to the characters and feel invested in them and their storyline.

Bridgers is based off the story of The Good Samaritan, and it’s one of the best retellings I’ve ever read. It is a powerful story in itself, and also makes the story it’s based on come to life in a new way.

When we hear the words “good Samaritan,” we think “nice person.” We don’t think about the stigmas and expectations that the real Samaritan had to be brave and caring enough to overcome. We don’t think about how caring for another person could have disrupted their life. Bridgers really shows what caring about other people enough to do something about it when they’re hurting might look like in a modern setting we recognize.

The writing style in this book was very unique, and I really enjoyed it. The POV switches are unusual in that it switches from third person for Peyton and Levi to first person for Davonte. I’d never seen that before, but I think it worked very well to distinguish the characters and their perspectives and also make the book very personal for one of them.

The dialogue was spot-on, and I love a book with good, natural dialogue. The book shows and doesn’t tell, which can be a very hard thing to do, even for well-established authors and writers.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Stellae Books. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

Overall, Bridgers impressed me very much and is going on my list of favorites. I contacted the author and asked if she’d be interested in answering a few questions for a short interview which you can read here.

If You Like

If you like books such as Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, or You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins, you will probably enjoy Bridgers: A Parable. 

Let’s Chat!

Have you read many indie-published books? What are your thoughts on books with multiple points of view?