The 2015 Classics Challenge is set up by Stacey over at THE PRETTY BOOKS. The goal is to read one classic a month and to blog about the experience. I've always wanted to read more classics and since I'm in a monthly classics book group, I thought this would be a great way to combine the two! This month, with the release of Go Set A Watchman finally upon us, it felt like the perfect time to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird.
A little sidenote - my friend Rose started a sort of classics challenge for movies over on her blog. Her film of the month is To Kill A Mockingbird (it's a great post!), so it's the perfect addition to this post. And everyone can join!
WHEN I DISCOVERED THIS CLASSIC + WHY I CHOSE TO READ IT
I've discovered this classic when I was about 19 years old. I saw it in a bookstore and I knew vaguely that it was one of those books "everyone" seemed to have read, but I had no idea what it was about. I'm not sure why exactly I chose to read it the first time - probably to see what all the hype was about - but I chose to re-read it this month to prepare myself for Go Set A Watchman. I wanted to make sure that all the characters were fresh in my mind for my new visit to their world.
WHAT MAKES IT A CLASSIC
There are many aspects as to why this is a classic, but the most important one seems to be the discussion of discrimination and social injustice in this book. Harper Lee sheds light on racism in Southern America and the high toll it has on those discriminated. What makes this book stand out from other books dealing with this theme is the fact that it's written from the perspective of a child. We all know there's social injustice, but it is so much more effectively shown through the eyes of an innocent 8 year old.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS CLASSIC
I loved TKAM the first time I read it, I loved it more this time and now that I've read Go Set A Watchman, I might love it even more. Harper Lee's writing is so simple, yet cinematic, that you can't help but be dragged into the world she creates. It looks like Jem, Scout and Dill are living perfect lives and I love the subtle way the issues get introduced early on in the book. When the trial starts, Harper Lee manages to keep the children children while also giving the reader enough adult perspective on the trial so we can understand it.
I loved Jem the first time I read the book and I love him even more now. I hate how upset he is when he realises that the world is not a fair place at all. As a reader, you want to protect him from the things he is exposed to, yet at the same time, you realise no one can be protected from real life. The process of Jem losing his innocence is the most heartbreaking, yet compelling part of this book - which is then mirrored in Go Set A Watchman when Scout makes some of the same realisations years later.
WILL IT STAY A CLASSIC
This question is probably more relevant than ever for this book. Will Go Set A Watchman ruin the classic status of To Kill A Mockingbird? I know people have been iffy about the second book, but I LOVED it and I don't think anything can change the importance of TKAM. This book has changed lives and has inspired so many people to do better. Thanks to the child's perspective, it is so easy to grow up with this book and I don't think that will ever change.
WHO I’D RECOMMEND IT TO
Anyone who might not be that aware of social injustice problems. Like I wrote in my personal post about this book, I was unaware of so many of the issues addressed in this novel. Reading TKAM really opened my eyes and I think anyone who has lived a sheltered and privileged life can really grow from this book.