I’ve just finished reading a classic novel that I should’ve read ages ago. However, like so many other books, I took my time to get my hands on To Kill a Mockingbird. Needless to say, I regretted not reading it sooner. But there was also something different about this book than the others I’ve been reading.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a simple story. It has a complex plot that’s worth talking about for years together, but the story line was simple enough. Harper Lee had chosen a not-so-uncommon incident, and worked out a narrative around it. I didn’t realise it until after I finished reading it, but the entire plot wove around a single strand, one strong piece of gossamer that shone bright enough to attract and magnetic enough to keep me attracted through to the last page.
I can’t remember the last time I read a book so captivating, so relatable, and so enchanting. I loved the brother and sister. I loved how the brother would nag the sister saying she was becoming too much like a “girl.” Brothers do that, and not many books illustrate it as well as this one does. Throughout the story, the relationship between the brother and sister blossomed from childhood trebles, evolving into an everlasting bond of friendship and reliability. That’s how real brother-sister relationships mature, and I was amazed when I realised that no other book I’ve read (so far) ever mentioned anything like it.
Every character was a an entity in itself. Scout was an atom of energy, reminding me of my younger days when I frowned at pink flower frocks, picking, instead, a pair of comfortable overalls. Jem was a natural, a protective brother who watches out for his sister, loveable yet condescending at times — just like mine. As for Dill, he’s the kind of person we’d come across in life who has it all — or so it would see — and yet, has nothing worth having.
Calpurnia, the beacon that lit up the Finch household, was the ever-smiling help at home that makes every child learn while they yearn for her cookies.
And Atticus, dear Atticus, what a father he made. Standing by the suppressed, jovial and just Atticus was the perfect protagonist. When he’s a typical father who doubts his parenting skills, when he demands the truth without raising a tone, when he caresses his daughter’s hair, when he embraces Jem’s adolescence — Atticus’s every action makes the reader love him even more.
How could anyone be unaware of such vivid writing and vivacious narrating? If it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird, tis a greater sin to let great works go unappreciated. At least now I can cherish it, late though it is.