To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along

To Kill a Mockingbird read-a-longAdam of Roof Beam Reader is organising a read-along for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I got this book last Christmas but I haven’t read it yet. And since I’m not from an English-speaking country, we never had to read it in school. So here’s my chance to read and discuss it with others.

For this first check-in, we read Part 1 (roughly 150 pages).

This is a coming of age book, in which we meet little Scout even before she’s old enough to go to school. Her brother Jem is four years older and when it’s finally Scout’s time to start school, she’s disappointed: she’s not allowed to read, because they don’t read in first grade. Luckily, outside school there is excitement enough.

Scout, Jem, and their father Atticus live next door to the Radleys, a mysterious family who don’t show themselves outside very often. The children are intrigued and find several ways to get into contact with the family (always scared to death at the same time). Jem is asked to read to an old lady, which he absolutely hates to do, but his father insists and praises him when he does so. The old lady was scolding their father for being a nigger-lover after which Jem destroyed her flowers and the reading was a punishment.

Atticus is a lawyer who is asked to defend a black man, Tom Robinson. The community in Maycomb in Alabama disapprove of this and Scout and Jem get called names at school because of it.

So far, I’m enjoying this book a lot. It takes place in the 1930s in Southern USA. The story, told by Scout, is so believable. I love how there’s a good boy, Jem, and a bad girl, Scout (she often gets into trouble), the mysterious Radleys, of whom we haven’t heard the last, I’m sure. Also interesting is the black/white division, that is very strong in the book (most blacks have lowly jobs and don’t even know how to read).

The book started off with some big words. I had no problem understanding, but remembered how my 14 year old son and his (non-native) friends had to read this book in English class. They must have struggled for a bit! When the story is full under way, the book is easy enough to read.

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About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

16 Responses to To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along

  1. bibliosue says:

    I’ll be interested to hear your reaction to the book as a whole, Judith. I read it only for the first time maybe 10 years ago (it wasn’t required reading in Canada) and I was and still am shocked by how much and how little has changed regarding race relations in the United States.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Suzanne, I was already thinking that even from the first part. It’s shocking how ingrained these racial prejudices are.

      I’m looking forward to the rest of the book – so far, I loved it.

  2. Great thoughts! I’m glad you’re enjoying it – I really am enjoying it this time, too. It’s not exactly different from what I remembered, but I’m definitely responding to it in a new way. I agree with you about the big words and such. I think I may have found that off-putting (and unbelievable) the first time around – as the narrator is basically 8 or 9 years old. But, I realize this time it really is an adult narrator telling her story from her childhood as if through her own young eyes again. So, there are moments of childhood superstitions, fear, and dialogue, but then the language and prose itself is quite intelligent and adult. It’s odd, but I’m liking it (this time). I didn’t even mention Mrs. Dubose and her flowers! Ah well.. there was a lot to cover. That’s why these discussion check-in posts are so awesome!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Adam, and I didn’t mention the house fire! There were a lot of things going on (ah, the rabid dog!). It was fun to read how you remembered things differently from last time around.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Love this classic.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews

  4. I could sing the praises of this book for hours and hours..but I won’t🙂 I’m so glad you’re reading and enjoying it!

  5. Kimberly says:

    Yay for first time readers of TKAM! This is my fourth time through the book as I read it in high school and have since taught it in high school. Having fun just reading it for fun this time🙂

  6. This is such a fabulous book! I reread it a few months ago when the film came out as a limited release. I reread the book and then saw the movie, and both were amazing.

  7. Luanne says:

    It’s one of the most important American books IMO. Enjoy!

  8. Leslie says:

    Amazingly I have never read this one. Some of the classes at my high school read it but mine wasn’t one of them.

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