To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Warner Books, 1988. 296 pp. Fiction
This is one of those classic novels I somehow missed all through my school years. As did millions before me, I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Scout is one of the best literary protagonists ever conceived. Her precocious drive to comprehend her small town existence while struggling with the often baffling and frustrating demands of adults was wonderfully portrayed by the author. The dynamics of her relationships with her brother Jem and her father were particularly interesting. While there is a good bit of sibling tension, Jem never really questions Scout's tomboy nature. Their relationship with their father was fascinating as well, deferential and yet oddly familiar, referring him as Atticus rather than Dad, Father, etc. Her portrayal of small town life is wonderfully complex, acknowledging both the close sense of community while still recognizing the tendency toward insularity and narrow minded provincialism. While this is often required reading for high school or college students, this is definitely a book that should be revisited by adult readers as well.