To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird - e-book
(Re)Read from April 04th to 10th, 2013 
My rating: 3/5 stars
When "To Kill a Mockingbird" was first published many a critic considered it over moralistic and found the narrative voice unconvincing. And so it is, strictly speaking – although the objection concerning the narrator is not very fair: in fact it's an adult voice evocating events from her childhood. 
Anyway, this is not the point. The novel could have been unconvincing and over moralistic, but it’s not. Could have been soapy and tendentious, but it’s not. Even the title could have fallen easily into commercial and melodramatic, but it doesn't. Why? I could find a thousand arguments, but truthfully, as it always happens with great books, you can never really explain it. 

Maybe it’s the tone, for Harper Lee is a skilled story-teller who beautifully ponders the tension of the plot in a style of a stunning clarity, which sometimes mimics the naïveté of a nine-year-old girl, sometimes makes fun of it, sometimes slips into the critical attitude of the adult, but it never, never sound false or forced. 

Maybe it is the main theme – the fall from innocence, the paradise lost, for not even Maycomb, the safest and nicest town in the world, where not a door is closed and that "had nothing to fear but fear itself" cannot prevent the evil and the injustice.
Maybe it’s the clever illustration of some personal and social issues, such as childhood, parenthood, education, justice and racism; every one of them caring deeper significance that it seems, for Scout and Jem's childhood is different from Dill's, for progress in education is not necessarily a good thing, for the best parents in the world are sometimes undervalued by their children, for justice is sometimes just a word and racism a reality that questions the humanity of otherwise irreproachable citizens. 

Maybe it's the creation of some interesting characters from that rather basic opposition between the mockingbirds and their killers, for Atticus could be a cold and empty concept of superhuman ethics but somehow he is alive and complex and not in the least boring in his inflexible moral values; for Boo Radley is a shadowy, gothic figure, the gray ghost who "gave us two soap dolls, a broken watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives."

Or maybe it's the perfect round structure, suggesting a world frozen in time, sufficient to itself, for the story begins and ends with the image of Jem's broken arm. 
It's certainly all of the above and so much more, elusive, ineffable, that touches your heart and gives you hope.

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