Well,it’s been a while since I promised to come up with my first amateur review of the legendary ‘To kill a Mockingbird‘ by Harper Lee.I can faithfully report,my dear folks,that this book was one of those incredibly, unputdownably , unforgettably delicious reads,which you want to race through to the very end,a million times over ( the real bookworms out there will agree with every syllable I am sure!!). Such books become the centre of your existence for a few days,& every other activity ( like eating,sleeping & bathing) seem inconsequential & unnecessary! Needless to add,it creates havoc with your daily routine,transporting you to the author’s imagination,leaving you with a permanent hangover of it’s characters.THAT,is what happened,dear friends,with me since I laid my hands on this particular paperback ’50th anniversary’ edition of ‘..Mockingbird’,thanks to my nagger of a best friend(YES YOU,Mrs.Gargi Majumder Chakravorty!!).
To start with,this novel was published for the very first time in 1960 in America,& went on to win the Pulitzer prize,selling a zillion copies world-wide since then.It achieved almost cult-status,mainly due to the globally prevalent issues it dealt with, ‘rape & racial prejudice’.Strangely enough,the author of this book,Miss Harper Lee has published only one book in her entire lifetime.One book,a few hundred pages,& she created history in the literary world,achieving through her writing, what many of her contemporary influential elitists could not.She brought together two cultures,separated by color,and made the world view them through the eyes of a six year old child in her novel.Now,I don’t quite know what the rest of the world saw,but I can tell you this much,the book hits HARD.The words and the quotes will stay with you long after you have read & lost the book.
The novel narrates itself through six year old Scout Finch,a free-spirited,indomitable little girl living in the American town of Maycomb.She stays with her brother Jem,their father Atticus,& is visited often by a boy named Dill (whose character is loosely based on Lee’s best friend & famous author,Truman Capote). They have a Black lady named Calpurnia,as their house help,and she is the closest thing to a mother figure for the two kids.The story unravels around a legal case, taken up by Scout’s father,Atticus, a reputed lawyer & a respected citizen of Maycomb.The case dealt with an incident involving the rape of a white woman by a black man named Tom Robinson.Despite Atticus’s brave attempts to acquit an innocent Tom of the charges(admist extreme criticism by his relatives & neighbours) Atticus fails & Tom is convicted,finally getting shot while trying to escape from the prison.
What awed me about this book was the ease with which Lee has deconstructed a sensitive & complex issue,and driven home a lesson to the society at large.The analogy between a mockingbird & an innocent black man,accused & killed only because of his color,is just pure genius.I can’t control the temptation of sharing this entire paragraph with you all(at the cost of making this post unreadably long!!).So,here goes —
“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”
Everything that you will read in this book,will make you think,and not in a ‘brain-aching’ way..it’s fluid & effortless…almost like a children’s novel,with some very serious adult issues! Apartheid has been a global issue,throughout the history of civilization ,& every country has had it’s share of this social evil,but to read it from the point of view of a six year old,lovable young girl like Scout,is just amazing & heart-rending,all at the same time.
There is a reason why this book has survived the test of time,& has often been hailed as the one book that every individual should read,even if they never read another book in their life!!Go order it online,guys,or just download the e-book.You will thank me(AND my best friend) later (& maybe leave a comment or two below! 😉 ).
Bowing out with another thunderous quote from Miss Lee’s masterpiece :
“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world , they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results”
So long,folks….I’ll be back soon with another post about a chicken roast…sorry I just wrote that because it rhymed.. 😛 Honestly,I have no idea what’s coming up next,it might be another book review or it might be a ‘tasty post’ on some of my ‘kitchen-goddess’ Mom’s authentic Bong recipes… my growling tummy votes hands-down for the second option… 😉 what say guys?
Till then…& this goes out to ONLY my girls out there… BE the change you want to SEE!! (well,the advice is plagiarized ,I know,but as they say “bhaavnaao ko samjho yaar!”) :):);) & don’t forget to leave your valuable comments below if you have read this book & want to blabber about what you think,feel,like,don’t like, et al …I am ALL EARS! 🙂