Ciska's Book Chest

I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird - Descendent from Robert E. Lee, the Southern Civil War general, Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama. Her father was a former newspaper editor and proprietor, who had served as a state senator and practiced as a lawyer in Monroeville. Lee studied law at the University of Alabama from 1945 to 1949, and spent a year as an exchange student in Oxford University,Wellington Square. Six months before finishing her studies, she went to New York to pursue a literary career. She worked as an Airline reservation clerk with Eastern Air Lines and British Overseas Airways during the 1950s. In 1959 Lee accompanied Truman Capote to Holcombe, Kansas, as a research assistant for Capote's classic 'non-fiction' novel In Cold Blood (1966).To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee's first novel. "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."The story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Alabama. It focuses on six-year-old Scout Finch, who lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill who visits Maycomb to stay with his aunt each summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, their neighbor, the reclusive "Boo" Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo and, for many years, few have seen him. The children feed each other's imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. Following two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone is leaving them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times, the mysterious Boo makes gestures of affection to the children, but, to their disappointment, never appears in person.Atticus is appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although many of Maycomb's citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom to the best of his ability. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus' actions, calling him a "nigger-lover". Scout is tempted to stand up for her father's honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. It was the first time I read this novel though of course I had heard about it on several occasions. I read some of the reviews before starting it and those gave me the idea the book was harsh and horrible, some even went as far as to say the book should be banned cause it was racist amongst other things. I think this books very well put down the idea of black people in that era. I think the book is very clear how unfair they have been treated on many occasions. I enjoyed very much the ideas the children came up with for their creepy neighbor, it reflected very well how children deal with things they cannot get their heads around. I did enjoy the story of Tom Robinson too, it was clear he was innocent but did not stand a change. But it was good to see that not all people agreed with how things went. What I did have a problem with was the use of language, I got the hang of it at some point but as a Dutch person reading in English it was difficult at first to get a grip on the Southern language used in the book. It did help though with setting the atmosphere.I think the characters where described very well. They really came alive and it was easy to empathize with them. The description of the street and the houses what was where was very well too. You could imagine walking down a street, seeing children play and that one dark, abandoned looking house on the corner.