The thing I love most about book club (apart from a good gossip and glass of wine with some awesome people) is that it makes me read books I would never normally choose. Charlotte’s choice of East of Eden a couple of months ago is a prime example of this – it’s something I would never normally have picked and I think it’s been my favourite book so far.
Having enjoyed it so much I thought I should perhaps delve further into the world of modern classics, so I googled the top 50 and was given a suggested list from goodreads.com.
First up was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird – and here’s how I got on…
The book’s back cover says:
‘”shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this enchanting classic – the black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties.’
For me, part of the charm of this book lies in the narrative. Jean Louise narrates this book as an adult looking back on her life from the ages of 6-9. There is a naivety in her views and values as she tries to understand her family’s place in their small southern society.
Her dad, her cook, her brother – all people she idolises are judged by the world she lives in and she struggles to see them, and herself, in the way she’s being told to.
In today’s world some of the book’s issues surrounding religion, race and class are difficult to comprehend, which can make for uncomfortable reading at times. Although it’s a work of fiction it’s easy to imagine the events really happened.
Harper Lee’s writing is brilliant, I really connected with the characters – my favourite of whom was definitely Atticus, and it was a real page turner. The book can be a difficult read, really sad at times but also funny and extremely heart warming.
If you haven’t read it already (and I felt like the only person in the world who hadn’t so there can’t be many of you!) then I insist that you do. And obviously let me know what you thought.
I’ve timed this really well for Harper Lee’s much anticipated sequel Go Set a Watchman which I’m hoping will live up to my expectations.
But before I do that, on to the next book on the list, this time: George Orwell’s 1984.