Why Is “To Kill A Mockingbird” Everyone’s Favorite Book?

Ok friends – get your tomatoes out.

Last fall, PBS held The Great American Read, and America voted To Kill A Mockingbird as the #1 most loved book in America.  And it shouldn’t be.

It’s a terrible book and I hate it.

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See, I knew you were gonna toss that tomato in my direction for having this opinion, but I really never liked To Kill A Mockingbird.

The first time I read it was in my 10th Grade English class.  We had to read it as a group, and write essays and take pop quizzes on the story.

Since then, I’ve really disliked the book.

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It wasn’t so much that it was “assigned reading” – I never really minded assigned reading.  I liked reading in general.

But what bothers me most about this story is the unchanging characters.  Scout was aware of racism, but she didn’t change throughout the story.   Her adult voice telling the story reinforces that.

Prior to the release of Go Set A Watchman, Atticus was the most perfectly moral character ever written, and that was so boring and obvious that the ending of the book was pretty much a guarantee.  (Post release of Go Set A Watchman, we learn Atticus was a bigot, however, some believe this is because Harper Lee never wanted to release the “sequel” and it’s more like a first-draft of To Kill A Mockingbird.  This is a post for another time.)

Isn’t the purpose of get literature to see how the characters develop and change and overcome??

I guess I just didn’t “get” anything from this novel.  It was just a story.

AND I know not every classic novel is for every reader.

AND maybe “hate” is a strong word….but I won’t ever read it again.

So why does everyone LOVE it????

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  • Hey Amanda,
    To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books. I disagree that Scout doesn’t change. She goes from having a naive, sheltered view of the world to understanding that there is ignorance and evil. She also learns that people who don’t conform aren’t always scary or bad (remember how she felt about Boo Radley before he helped rescue her?) She learned that true courage comes from doing the right thing at great personal risk. She didn’t idolize her father by the end. She admired him from a more mature viewpoint.

    To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t about ending racism. It’s a coming of abr story in which a child becomes aware of the biases in her town — and not just racial biases either, the poor and uneducated families that cause trouble are also unprivileged– and loses her innocent doe-eyed view of her hometown. I love coming of age stories, especially this one. Read it for the first time when I was 9 and still love it. I’m glad I discovered it on my own as it’s the kind of book English teachers ruin with ridiculous lessons focusing on things that are beside the point.

    • Hi Jack! I see your point, and I may (someday) re-read this story. Scout does mature, but is that because of what happened in her town, or just because she’s getting older? If the events we know changed her, wouldn’t we see a BIGGER change? (I’ve said this knowing I haven’t read the book in YEARS and to speak more intelligently on the subject, I’ll need that re-read.) I guess the book left me with a lack of resolution because I didn’t get to see Jean Louise ACT upon her maturing/changing.

      Good to hear from you Jack! Can’t wait to tell people I knew you before you were a famous author!

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