To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This modern classic made me as a teen fall in love with reading and propelled me into pursuing a career in criminal law. This is my copy from school with inane doodling, highlighted sections and horrified comments. A Pulitzer Prize winning work, it will always be an ultimate favourite.
Set in 1930’s America during the Great Depression, we follow six year old Scout as she confronts deep seated prejudice amidst the segregation of an American South in the grip of Jim Crow.
A staple of the English Curriculum and an all time bestseller, this is a book that demonstrates the power of writing. It was my first real insight into the abhorrent racism and injustice in the legal system as the character of Atticus Finch is Scout’s father and a lawyer that plays a critical role in the plot.
I have a confession though – I cannot bring myself to read Go Set A Watchman, published in 2015, initially seen as a sequel but now considered a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. I think my inherent trepidation stems from not wanting to affect my long standing adoration for the initial tale which had a profound impact on me. To see Scout as an adult grappling with her father who behaves differently to how we have had him portrayed for the last 50 years is a bit galling. Have you read both? Let me know if I am being ridiculous.
If you haven’t read To Kill A Mockingbird I cannot recommend it enough, it’s a very different experience reading it as an adult compared to learning the text in school. The innocence of childhood juxtaposed with the bigotry of society is searing and will stay with you for a long time.