Wow--I'm very impressed with myself: I signed up for three reading challenges, and I've finished two of them. Of course one of them, the Chunkster Challenge, seems to have dried up and gone away, but as of today, I'm done with the Southern Reading Challenge. I feel a bit guilty about my last selection:
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
Why a cheat? Partially because I've read it before, although that's allowed with the Southern Reading Challenge. In fact, I had previously read the letters of Flannery O'Connor too. That was a longer book, though, and at times a more challenging read, whereas Mockingbird flies along in spite of its difficult subject matter.
There's not much to say about it that hasn't already been said--I think Miss T. captured the idea of reviewing this book perfectly. It's a wonderful book, the kind that describes a specific place and time so evocatively, yet has a wider application in terms of both place and time. It's a book that stands up to many years (nearly 50 since it was first published) of readers, and a book that still seems deserving of the praise and awards (Pulitzer!) it generated.
Scout is still a wonderful child. Atticus is still a wonderful (perhaps, in my only criticism, a little too perfect) parent. The people of Maycomb County are still flawed human beings, but not always without some form of redemption. What happened to Tom Robinson is still a tragedy and a crime, and one that sadly is still not fully eradicated from our society today.
But in the long run, this book wouldn't still attract readers if it wasn't such an enjoyable read. And that's what a great book is all about, isn't it?