To Kill a Mockingbird

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Another (completely unsurprising) book from the New York Times' Best Books Of The Last 125 Years list, as voted on by their readers. (And, from that list of 25, NYT readers voted this the best book.)

I turned that list (the ones I hadn't already read) into a reading project. This leaves four books to go! The end is in sight!

I'd seen the movie long ago, remembering steadfast Gregory Peck as Atticus, the courageous liberal lawyer and dedicated father to Scout and Jem. And I remembered Robert Duvall as… well, no spoilers here.

Of course, the book is richer than the movie. It's set in the little town of Maycomb, Alabama, smack in the middle of the Great Depression. Scout, a tomboyish young girl is the narrator, and her narration is filled with wry observations and unexpected humor. It's a detailed look at small-town personalities, their interactions, kindnesses, weirdnesses, and bigotries. But the big plot driver (also of course) is the racially infused accusation of rape against Tom Robinson, and his (OK, spoiler here) his competent but futile courtroom defense by Atticus.

It gets a little preachy in parts. Not a criticism, just an observation. Certainly some preachiness is called for.

But not all. At one point, Scout notices the disappearance of National Recovery Act (NRA) stickers; she asks Atticus about that, and she's told that "nine old men" killed the NRA.

Well, yeah. The SCOTUS decision as unanimous. The NRA was economic fascism. So eat it, Atticus.

The first review that popped up for me on Goodreads was a one-star excoriation, written by an eloquent but very angry reader who objected to the character of Atticus as a "white savior".

Well, first, it's fiction, pal. Write your own damn book, presumably free of "white saviors". And, geez louise, try reading Gone With the Wind, another book off the NYT list of 25; that'll really piss you off.

Last Modified 2024-01-12 6:04 AM EDT