by Harper Lee
This can’t be surprising but I liked To Kill A Mockingbird much more than the sequel. Sequels are always hard especially when the first book is so successful but I have to be honest.
In the first book we follow a couple of kids in 1930s America as their dad represents a black man being accused of rape by a white women. We see how society works at the time through the eyes of a child which is very interesting. I really enjoyed the title imagery and it linked the whole book together. Its not one of my new favourite books and think its a good read.
The sequel is set twenty years later and we see Scout return to her childhood home from New York and decide where she wants to settle down. She does have the same repellent nature to femininity that she does in the first book which I enjoyed. In adulthood she realises that the society of people that she was brought up in may not be what she thought. The title, as in the first book, provides imagery for the moral message of the book.
There is a major trigger warning in both books for the discussion of rape. There is lots of emphasis on whether someone fought back against their attacker. This is representative of the time period but not representative of what rape is. Consent is more than physically fighting back as much as possible. In the second book there was mention that an underage girl could be consenting which is obviously not true. Rape has been misunderstood and misrepresented for many years. I would have liked to see a character challenge the incorrect idea of rape in the book like ideas on race are challenged. The books being written decades ago I can’t say I expected better unfortunately.
I enjoy the tomboy character of Scout who is still refusing to marry at twenty-six. What I didn’t like about the second book was that it involved a lot of dialogue of characters arguing. To try and get their point across there are paragraphs of just one character speaking which I didn’t find particularly engaging. I wanted there to be more action in between. There is an act of quick violence at the end which is glossed over as being necessary that I didn’t enjoy reading. It really took me out of the story with how shocked I was by it.
To Kill a Mockingbird is an important part of literary canon but not without its flaws.