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Kim's Reviews > To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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's review
Mar 11, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: cultured, simpatico, mmix

Why is it when I pick up To Kill A Mockingbird , I am instantly visited by a sensory memory: I’m walking home, leaves litter the ground, crunching under my feet. I smell the smoke of fireplaces and think about hot cider and the wind catches and my breath is taken from me and I bundle my coat tighter against me and lift my head to the sky, no clouds, just a stunning blue that hurts my eyes, another deep breath and I have this feeling that all is okay.

Why? Why this memory? I mean, this takes place in Alabama and mostly in the summer, well there is that one climatic scene on Halloween, but I bet it’s still hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey.

It must be the school thing, my daughter just finished reading it, prompting me to give it another go, to fall back into Scout’s world and pretend to be eight and let life simply be.

How is that? How can life for Scout be simple? I mean, she lives in the south, during the depression, she has to deal with ignorant schoolteachers and town folk, her ideas of what is right, what is what it should be are laughed at by her schoolmates… man, and I thought my childhood was rough.

Still, she lives in this idyllic town, I mean, except for the racism and the creepy neighbors and the whole fact that it’s, you know, the south…(forgive me… I’m not immune to the downfalls of the north, I mean, we had witches and well, Ted Bundy was born here…) But, there’s this sense of childlike innocence to this book that makes me believe in humanity… even in the throes of evil. What am I saying here? I guess, that this is a good pick me up.

What I also get from this book is that I have severe Daddy issues. I consume Atticus Finch in unnatural ways. He is the ultimate father; he has the perfect response for every situation. He is the transcendent character. My heart melts at each sentence devoted to him and I just about crumble during the courtroom scene.

Am I gushing? I sure am. I was raised by a man who thought that Budweiser can artwork was the epitome of culture. That drinking a 6-pack was the breakfast of champions. That college was for sissies. He could throw out a racial slur without a single thought, care or worry to who was around. I won't even get into the debates/rantings of a 16 yr old me vs a 42 yr old him... What a role model.

So, I thank Harper Lee for giving me Atticus. I can cuddle up with my cider and pretend that I’m basking in his light. I can write this blurb that makes sense to maybe a handful but that is okay, I am approved of and all is good.
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Quotes Kim Liked

Harper Lee
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Reading Progress

March 11, 2008 – Shelved
March 15, 2008 – Shelved as: cultured
October 5, 2009 –
page 336
Started Reading
October 15, 2009 – Finished Reading
October 24, 2009 – Shelved as: simpatico
October 30, 2010 – Shelved as: mmix

Comments (showing 1-50 of 80) (80 new)

Meels I should re-read that. I only vaguely remember it. Old age, senility and all that...

message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim I felt the same way, Ames... it's definitely worth a refresher.

message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 15, 2009 09:16PM) (new)

'hot enough to melt the balls off a brass monkey'

Nice one, Skimmers. (The review and the metaphor.)

I was assigned this one in freshman English but never got around to reading it. Thank you, Cliff Notes.

ScottK UHM...Hi ! Loved the book,love your review of it. Just popped in to say it is cold in Bama in Oct................. Just sayin'. : )

message 5: by Kim (last edited Oct 16, 2009 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thanks, Scott!!... uh... I live in Vermont... what's your definition of cold? :)

Jackie "the Librarian" Is it even possible to not like Atticus Finch?

message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim It's far past 'like' with me, Jackie... far.

Jackie "the Librarian" And now I suspect you are picturing Gregory Peck, Kim... ;)

Sandi Wonderful review! This is my all-time favorite book. Every time I read it, I get something different out of it.

message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kim, Great review! Sandi, This is probably my favorite book too. It certainly was when I read it for the first time when I was 11 or 12. (I'd seen the movie when it first came out when I was 9 so I knew the gist of the story.) I've reread it so many times but not for over a decade. It might be time for another reread.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Wonderful review, Kim. You are not alone in your fixation on Atticus Finch. I adore him. I thought I was weird for so many years because of my feelings for this character. I can't decide if I want to marry him or have him be my honorary dad.

message 12: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thank you! I feel the same way Danielle... and it will provide discussions for many more therapy sessions, I'm sure.

And now I suspect you are picturing Gregory Peck, Kim... ;)

well, there's that. :)

Sandi Gregory Peck was sooooo dreamy. Why aren't actors today as hot as Gregory Peck, Clark Gable, et al?

message 14: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Gregory Peck was in a class of his own, oh and well maybe Jimmy Stewart too. I just loved Peck as Atticus!

Sandi What about Humphrey Bogart? He wasn't classically handsome, but he was sexy. Harrison Ford is kind of the same type, but I don't see anyone in the new generation of actors who fits the bill.

message 16: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I agree. No actors around that match Gregory Peck these days.

message 17: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth Kim, wow!

I love the thoughts and the place that reading this book brought you. My "south" was Texas in the 50s/60s with lots going on of which I was unaware. It is only upon reflection that I see hints of the larger issues that were about.

My father, a prosecutor with a seersucker suit, resembled Atticus in so many of the important ways.

He would have been able to shoot that dog down at an even greater distance and by the time I was scout's age, I could have too.

That we were taught to shoot and were taken hunting seems a cliche, but it was with the utmost reverence for where we were and what we were doing as well as with safety and respect for weaponry.

He also cared and provided for his fellow human beings. He shared that humanity. He gave legal advice and services to many with "payments" in whatever they had to offer, often just a handshake and a smile. He took the fruits of our hunting and gathering to people who were in need.

His ethics were nearly flawless. He taught us what it meant to hate and to perpetuate that hate and the terrible legacy of small mindedness. His father, a klansman, left an indelible impression on generations. He rejected that message and supported our formation as ALL our brother's keepers.

However, he wasn't humble. He took pride in his abilities and those of his children. Even when he called us brats, we could feel that love.

That love and value system has seen me far in this difficult world. I thank the powers that be for that support and strength and I feel it when I even hear the opening music to the movie made from Harper Lee's book or dip once again into the pages and go back to those warm summer nights and roaming the neighborhood watching and waiting for Boo Radley.

message 18: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Wow, Beth! Thanks for that post! It's good to know that Atticus Finch still lives!!

message 19: by Beth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth Lived...and you are more than welcome. I read your post followed by mine to my husband, another southerner, born and raised in New Orleans in the 1940s. Then we both teared up.

Not everyone gets or is really meant to get this book. That you do and that it is important because of your background instead of in spite of it, is a gift, especially to me. That no matter our ages, we can be scout and walk with her on a leafy, blowing evening at dusk...the power of storytelling.

I'm going to try and friend you, so look for me.

message 20: by Rc (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rc This is the most heartfelt review I've ever read.

message 21: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Well, thanks, Rc. That's real sweet of you. ;)

Elisabeth This made me tear up a bit.

message 23: by Amy (last edited Oct 28, 2010 10:59PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amy Ah great review. Your first paragraph has clicked into my mind that you're great at visualizing things. ^_^

I enjoyed reading this review, and what your opinions were for this book. It's fun to read other people's opinions about things. Keep up the great reviews!

message 24: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thanks, Amy!

message 25: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted So you've got all that to say about your father (Budweiser, racial slurs, sissies) and you're prejudiced against the South?

I won't say your feelings about the South are wrong. But basically, every place is that bad. I say this from my experience of living and working in 10 different states all over the US.

I like the South, the traces of gentility that remain, the sense of a lost culture and history. The Southerners of Scout's world were a defeated people, and that set them apart from the rest of our country, gave them a sort of group tragedy.

No, I don't mean to apologize or forgive for the awful things that have been done there. But I'd challenge you to find a region of North America that doesn't have terrible incidents in its history, and terrible people in its present.

I didn't really come here looking for something to chastise. I liked your review of Mockingbird, one of my favorite books too for many of the reasons you give. But I was struck by the comments even as I was reminded of my own rantings against parental prejudice (my mother, who turned cold as ice when I announced I was marrying someone not of her race).

message 26: by Tere (new)

Tere This is one of my top rated books of all time I have read it several times and will again its just my style and interest me in relation to its history and location but mostly it purpose.

Keerthi perfect!

message 28: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Majors Well. I haven't gotten to participate yet as I would have liked but; nevertheless , have almost finished reading it. Oh if I had more time. I'm a southerner living in New York City and have interesting observations about the south but don't have time at the moment.

Adi Narayan Mandalemula WOW! Simply WOW! Are you are writer? You can may be write a book as good as To Kill a Mocking Bird. You have some passion. Some force. You have a talent for writing. WOW! What a rev.... WOW! Super! WOW! What a review! Delighted to read it from the first to last. Again I say to myself after reading this review - WOW!

message 30: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thank you Aditya... that is very kind of you. :)

Danae When I was reading this for school, I thought it would just be another book that ended in a tragedy , like Of Mice & Men, that we had finished not too long before we started TKAM. When I read almost any line of Atticus', I melt as well because like you, Kim, I have Daddy issues as well. Thus was the kind of dad I've always wanted and that's what I love about books. You cab go into that world and practically live there when you read it for the first time and then when you read it again and again, you feel as if you're coming home into the safety on someones arms.
Great job onthis review and I hope you relationship between your dad has did improve at some point in time.

message 32: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thanks, Danae!

Jean Marie Angelo Hi Elizabeth. One of my book group is going to revisit To Kill a Mockingbird this summer. Can't think of a better time to read it. Wonderful documentary on PBS about the friendship and estrangement of Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Catch it if you can. Peace to you.

message 34: by Betsey (new)

Betsey C. Heartwarming review Kim!

message 35: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thanks, Betsey!

message 36: by Zhanitah (new) - added it

Zhanitah That's not pretty at all

Kathy Copple One doesn't need to have daddy issues to see that Atticus is a model father as well as a model man. Lovely review. This was my favorite book when I read it in school and is still my favorite book now. I'm 42 as well and have read it twice more since school. I don't think I've ever been inclined to read any books more than once since my Dr Seuss days. I think I might read it again now that your review has sparked the memory of its epicness again!

message 38: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Greg wrote: "The author of this book has grown rich brainwashing schoolchildren and simple adults with this trash. Harper Lee even had the temerity to exploit the voice of a child to inculcate her poison into receptive minds. It's not suitable for schoolchildren at all, being a work of propaganda that is focused on negative stereotypes and heavy symbolism that denigrates white people, while do its utmost to embellish archetypes of African Americans. The book is simply a vehicle for the civil rights movement and part of the chicanery that has led to the criminal and socially unstable quagmire that the USA is today. Children who have not learned to think for themselves should not be subjected to this indulgence in misrepresentation."


Flagged for hate speech, though I don't know if Goodreads will care.

message 39: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan There is more & more of this hatred at Goodreads. It was incredibly rare to have this expressed on Goodreads when I joined 6 years ago.

I'd love to blame it on the sale to Amazon, but I probably can't.

message 40: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Wow indeed! Thanks, Lisa... incredible.. I almost have to laugh.

message 41: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kim wrote: "Wow indeed! Thanks, Lisa... incredible.. I almost have to laugh."


Sandi Lisa wrote: "There is more & more of this hatred at Goodreads. It was incredibly rare to have this expressed on Goodreads when I joined 6 years ago.

I'd love to blame it on the sale to Amazon, but I probably c..."

This is the first time I've seen anything like this. I just find it hard to believe that there are people who still think like this in 2013. Then again, I've just been reading about the Paula Deen scandal and am just shaking my head.

message 43: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Sandi, someone like this comments on some of the reviews of a friend of mine, and has been for a long time, but much of this stuff I've noticed coinciding with the Goodreads = Amazon situation. It's probably s coincidence. I've seen and heard about too much ugliness so I'm not surprised it's out there, but I am surprised it's made its way here to Goodreads. I never saw anything like it in 2007. Stuff 1/4 as awful was immediately tended to and an end was put to it. Unfortunately, things have changed and are continuing to change. And not for the better.

Sandi Most of the ugliness I've seen has been when I or someone else has dared to declare a dislike of something that a gazillion people love. Even a well thought out criticism of some works will lead to some very ugly responses. It's one of the reasons I always try to "like" reviews that are well-written even if I don't agree with them and post something to the effect of "Well, I loved the book, but I can see your points and can understand why you didn't like it." Some people call that civil discourse.

message 45: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Exactly, Sandi. I'm like that too. I never comment on people's opinions of books, other than nicely agreeing or disagreeing and saying why. However, that's different that people's opinions about certain aspects of life.

message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Kim, I wanted to affirm your beautiful review, which was Proust-like and rich in sensory experience and memory. I love reading personal accounts, like yours, of how a great book changed a life, softened a heart, created a hunger, helped to articulate a disappointment, or changed an attitude. I can see from the comment thread that Harper Lee still has her work cut out for her. Victor Hugo, in his epigraph to Les Miserables, wrote, "while ignorance and poverty persist on earth books such as this cannot fail to be of value."

message 47: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Thank you, Steve. I have enjoyed your reviews as well. :)

message 48: by Pankaj (new) - added it

Pankaj Sharma Hi,

I am Pankaj and I represent www.learningandcreativity.com, a interactive site to promote writing talents. I like your writing stytle and would like to post your this and other reviews/writings on our website.

We will feature your bio with your photograph with a link back to your blog or website (if any).

Let me know your views. Meanwhile check out our authors who contribute to our website.

Warm Regards,
Pankaj Sharma

Maddiepanda My mum made me read the book because she said it was good. I should have read your review first because, if possible, I would have liked it even better.

message 50: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Oh, that's sweet. Thank you.

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