Harper Lee fans, read at your own risk. Charley Robson kills the Mockingbird…
Warning – I am about to tear into this novel like it’s a gourmet Ram burger, and I’m halfway through six years’ worth of Finals week.
Buried under the imploring words of parents, teachers, and general cultural consensus, I picked up this beloved staple of American literature at the tender and impressionable age of fifteen. By the time I was finished with it, I wanted to put it down again and hit it very hard with a hammer for being a massive damp squib.
Scout Finch was not, for me, the engaging and charming voice of innocent childhood; her tone, despite being half a decade my junior, was instead so condescending, I came close to developing a nervous twitch every time I turned a page. Meanwhile, Atticus “supposed pillar of the absolute good of humanity” Finch, came across as a two-dimensional preaching dullard; no question as to the source of every trait I loathed in Scout.
As if that were not bad enough, the book was so dull that to compare it to ditch water would be an insult, to even the slushiest of sludge. Any interest I might have derived from the societal prejudices of the time, was utterly overwhelmed by the Sunday School blithering of Scout, not the mention Jem’s utter fixation on Boo Radley. On the subject of Boo Radley – I completely forgot about him for the bulk of the novel, because of his complete irrelevance. That is, until the contrived lurchings of the plot wheel finally needed something else to drive over.
There’s a good message at the heart of this book, but sadly it’s about as interesting and complex as an episode’s worth of Sesame Street, with considerably less interesting characters -and far lower expectations of your intelligence – to deliver it.
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