To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along
July 19, 2013 16 Comments
Adam 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.