My father, on the other hand, did read this book because he was forced to in class. He remembered hating it, although when I tried to talk to him about the book, he didn't remember any of the actual details to the story.
Basically, my family really prefers their YA fantasy and dystopians over classics.
For the first part of the book, I was with my parents. Although the writing was good, the storyline was going nowhere, Scout was insufferable and all the characters felt very one dimensional. I'd give the first part of the book two stars.
The second part of the book was amazing, though. It was gripping most of the way through, layered with metaphors and philosophy and made me feel towards the characters. The second part is really what most people think of when TKAM is mentioned because that's where the main part of the story occurs. That part alone is probably somewhere between 4.5 and 5 stars.
Now, my problem with this book is that a lot of the first part just feels very irrelevant to the story, and that's what makes it so dry in the beginning. Although the book is actually about Scout and Jem growing up in Maycomb, there are some details that honestly have no purpose in the story. It would've been nice if Lee had cut out some of the parts that didn't pertain to the main two stories: the court case and Boo Radley.
The only other real problem I had with this book was that the characters all felt very one dimensional. Scout was the innocent smart child, Jem was the annoying but wiser older brother, Atticus was the wise, politically correct father, Cal was the sweet maid, Alexandra was the typical Southern belle, Dill was just an annoying kid, Boo was the kind town recluse, Tom was an innocent hardworking man, and Bob Ewell was just the town drunk trying to make some money.
In the first part of TKAM, the main story is about Scout, Jem and Dill trying to catch a glimpse of the town recluse, Boo Radley. They have multiple schemes about trying to get him to come out mixed in with their everyday escapades. Again, this part is very slow, and not a lot happens, so I can't say I enjoyed it too much.
If you haven't read this book, I will warn you, there is racism present. If that is something that makes you uncomfortable and you try to stay away from it, I would advise you not read this book. The court case in the story is that Scout and Jem's father, Atticus, is defending a black man named Tom Robinson who was accused of raping a white girl. Lee handles this topic with grace, and even gives Scout lines where she points out the double standard about discrimination throughout the world. I did find the court case very interesting, not only in how Atticus handled everything, but in how well he was able to sense what really happened.
During the first half of the first part, I really liked Scout. She was smart and didn't mix her opinion in with things she saw. That's really why Lee chose Scout as the narrator, because she told everything exactly how she saw it, without trying to mix what she thought up with what actually happened. When dealing with such sensitive topics, the narrator should only be saying the facts. I didn't really understand her whole thing with Dill, how she actually thought that they were going to get married. I wanted to slap her every time she talked about her 'fiance'. "...Summer was the swiftness with which Dill would reach up and kiss me when Jem was not looking, the longings we sometimes felt each other feel. With him, life was routine; without him, life was unbearable." Please *eye roll*. She got better as the book went on, but I didn't feel a ton of character development with her. Scout became less violent for sure, and a bit more ladylike, but that's not really development. Her character felt very dry and needed more substance to her.
I'm not going to do my usual character analysis with spoilers just because I feel like there wasn't enough substance to the characters or character development to do it.
So this book was good, but it wasn't as good as it was hyped up to be. The characters were flat and the first part seemed to drag on forever. But the writing style was still very good with a lot of interesting twists in the story in the second part. Read it, and please tell me if you agreed with my thoughts or if you felt differently.
Thanks for reading,