To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Afternoon readers, finally another classic book review for you today. I received this book from Mumma B a couple of months ago when we were shopping for a bookmark in Waterstones. If there was medal for losing book marks I would win first prize. I’ve bought a wonderful metal one shaped as like an @ sign to mark “where you’re at” in the book which I thought was rather lovely. Mumma B picked up a copy of this book at the till and passed it over for me to read and to pass onto her when I was finished. It’s taken a little while to get this read but it’s a truly wonderful book that definitely deserves a read.
‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
This is a stunning book, told through the eyes of a wonderfully educated six-year old girl with the prose and style of an adult. The book, set in a small fictional town in Alabama documents her father’s determination as a lawyer to prove that Tom Robinson accused of raping a white girl is innocent. This surrounded by a wealth of interweaving plot lines, the troubles of going to school, the arguments with her brother Jem (who I adored) and her Aunt’s belief that she should be brought up to be as like a lady. Despite this the two children, Scout and Jem, grow up in a happy environment. The book is a constant babble of interesting storylines about the small town , gently but definitely portraying the extremes of racism that was suffered by the black people of the town and defended by the white liberal lawyer Atticus and the problems and prejudiced views this caused to both.
The writing is sublime and the characters lift effortlessly from the page. Scout is stubborn, bossy and nosy but she is an adorable character, quick to learn and loyal to the bone. Jem is also a delight a little more understanding and little older than Scout he teaches his sister and keeps a watchful eye although often also getting them into trouble. Dill is erratic and emotional but I adored watching him intermix with the two siblings. Each of the characters, Tom, Boo, Atticus are all well-built and given incredibly strong profiles. It’s a delight to read. The writing style and the way the characters talk is evocative of the time and you can almost hear the American drawl in their words.
To Kill a Mockingbird, an evocative title for the book, focuses on the gut instinct of right and wrong and that doesn’t just mean by the law. There is a very interesting scene between Atticus, Scout and Jem where they discuss the trial and we get to the see the inner-workings of Atticus defending Tom Robinson and his teaching of such morals to his children. The novel does discuss and talk about a number of issues along the thought of prejudice, violence and hypocrisy and this is constantly juxtaposed between the thoughts of the town at the time and the rational and educated mind of Scout taught by her father. Despite this her narrative voice is often innocent and wonderfully blunt.
The book is difficult to sum up in a simple sentence; although this one from Atticus works rather well
“It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
It’s a mixture of comedy, tragedy and the workings of every-day life. It’s a book about people and the issue of race and prejudice. For me I fell for the writing of the book and the stunning character profiling and the dialect that is conveyed. It’s a wonderful and beautifully crafted book that will stay with me for a long time.
A Time to Live by Jonas Lee
Good morning readers, hope you are very well. Today’s review is one that comes from the heart. When you become a blogger some authors stick with you and their voyage into the world of being a well known author becomes very important to you. Jonas is one of those very authors. He works tirelessly to bring his ideas to readers and I hope that I as a blogger help to show readers just how good he is. This review has been a long time in the making and I apologise for that (slapped wrist.) Without further delay onto the review!
Carter Gabel had to overcome a lot in the last year, and time travel as a side effect of his “genetic disease” was only the beginning. He’s lost his mother, reunited with his estranged father, crippled a city and destroyed his school. If he thought he could fade into the sunset, Carter has another thing coming. A terrorist group known as Pirates has infiltrated his hometown to overthrow the Program designed to monitor those with potentially harmful abilities. Carter is a teenager, but he’s forced back into the mix as his grandson, David, has been put into a coma. He will have to try and stay out of sight as much as possible and work with new Eventuals along the way in order to stop the Pirates from turning Lincoln Square into a ghost town.
So I absolutely loved the first instalment of Jonas Lee’s Carter Gabel series and that made me even more excited to get my teeth stuck into A Time to Live. The book really does pick up where the last one leaves off and I thought that was really brilliant. If you haven’t read the first book go and get hold of a copy first (please!) In the second book it almost immediately becomes obvious how much Carter has matured as a character as a result of the events that occur in the first book. Authors have to really hone a number of skills but Jonas has really worked on his ability to tell a story and give a voice to his main character. Sometimes in book it feel like the author is detached from their main character but here you feel as though they are at one and that is wonderful to read. It also comes from Lee’s ability to construct strongly engaging and well built up characters and without that the storyline could fall apart but Jonas works the novel with both skill and understanding and I applaud him for it.
I must admit that I found that the second addition left me even more invested in Carter’s story, and the cliff hanger at the end of the first book helped to reinforce this. I think it was a clever idea to keep Carter attempting to lead a normal life and infiltrating this with the Pirates attempting to kill innocent people. I loved the introduction of the new characters it really helped to boost the excitement by including these new and exciting characters. At times there were so many new characters that I found myself a little lost but I think that because they were all so varied in their different powers that it was just interesting to get to know them all as individuals. Rook however continues to be my favourite and loved her even more in this book that in the first; class act Jonas. Carter additionally although a little more mature is still sarcastic and comedic with quips at just the right time and that really helped to add a sour/sweet edge to the book as a whole. He’s got a laid back style that is wonderful and is even more pronounced in the second book and I loved him for it.
In terms of technical critique I think the writing was a lot darker in terms of style and I think that by maturing Carter in this way it allowed Lee to explore this murky way of writing to really capture the reader. Couple of grammatical errors throughout but not enough to warrant getting your knickers in a twist as a reviewer. There are a few really special moments played out between Carter and Rook especially and this has made me become even more invested in the story as a whole and I can’t wait to read more!
So the only quibble other than a couple of grammatical errors was that at the start of the book you’re introduced to so many new characters one after the other you could feel a little overwhelmed. I think that honestly Jonas manages it just but you have to keep your eye on the ball. Overall I loved this book I thought it was not only smart and clever but also showed that Jonas has matured as an author and it’s brilliant. It feels both murkier and darker and also both fresher and more exciting. As a reader Jonas excites me and if I love his book I recon you might to!