Review - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about this amazing book that hasn’t already been said? I think The Guardian said it best – “To Kill a Mockingbird will never stop being a good book, and it will never stop inspiring good people.”

The story is told from the point of view of Scout (Jean-Louise Finch), a six year old girl, through various events that happen in the town of Maycomb and in particular, the court case of Tom Robinson as her father Atticus Finch acts as Tom’s defence lawyer. Tom, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, has to endure multiple racial attacks. Atticus, widely described as the “most enduring fictional image of racial heroism”, describes the events to Scout so that she sees that all people should be treated equally.


The book mainly deals with the themes of racial equality and rape but there are themes of morality, class and gender also. To Kill a Mockingbird had been deemed so important that in 2006, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one "every adult should read before they die".

Above pointing the finger at racial and class issues, it’s a gripping story with great characters. What impacted me most when reading this was just how applicable all of the issues still are today, even though the book was published 57 years ago. We have indeed made good progress, but we still have a long way to go in my view.


Scout is such an awesome character, probably one of my favourites. Having the story told through Scout’s innocent point of view was a perfect choice, it creates a unique atmosphere.

Atticus is nothing short of a hero. Not in today’s comic book / action-hero standard, but as a moral pillar of the family who is setting a great example for his family to follow. He sticks up for what he believes in. This probably sums him up perfectly - "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived."


The writing was a joy to read. You really get to know and care for the characters. This story is really subtle in places and it’s not a fast-paced thrill ride. Had Lee’s writing been sub-par it could have become boring very quickly. Instead, Lee draws you in through her fantastic writing, which is both charming and astonishing in places.

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

"So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses.... That proves something - that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children."

"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

”Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

If we followed our feelings all the time, we’d be like cats chasing their tails.

Final thought

I wholeheartedly agree that this is one of the most important books ever written, beautifully created. Don’t be put off by all the themes and the millions of critical, in-depth analysis’s. Underneath all of that, it’s simply a great read. Highly recommended, and the audiobook version with Sissy Spacek is wonderful.

I’ll leave you with yet another quote from The Guardian “Let it not be forgotten that a true piece of literature, like To Kill a Mockingbird, is meaningful in every period and that today, Atticus Finch's message should be heard in the midst of all the global conflicts that we hear of on the news every night.”



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