Hello Internet. Welcome back to Review #29. Oh, gods below, I wished I did not have to review this. But no, the feeling of responsibility which means I feel obligated to judge everything around me is too strong, and my feeling of hatred after being forced to read this for an assessment piece means I have some serious bones to pick. So there.
There’s a reason that modern literature is the way it is. And that reason is massive amounts of experience, and adaption to the modern world through integration of popular culture and newer and more experimental writing techniques which have been perfected over time. Admittedly, the study of the evolution of modern literature is beyond even me, and I’m not exactly the best person suited to judging how and why books have evolved in the way they have. There would be a lot of things concerning Ur Examples, and Codifiers, and countless other terms which would require a TV Tropes index to list. However, not a single one of these reasons justifies the use of half a book to tell a story about nothing.
To Kill a Mockingbird is something which I personally view as the antithesis of everything I have attempted to spell out about books through these sparse reviews. The characters are used purely as examples to guide a person through heavily Anvilicious and stressed problems, and the book addresses so many of these I assume it must be attempting to solve all the world’s problems through the mentioning of them alone. This means whoever is not naïve (gods below, curse people who choose naïve protagonists to exploit “sophisticated” moral issues), bigoted or victimised is portrayed as perfectly moral and grounding. And there is no middle ground. All of these traits are taken to extremes to truly emphasise the problems which the south had in the 1930’s, which makes the morals more important than the style.
And I hesitate to call this a story. A story does not spend an entire first chapter explaining things which do not become relevant until three quarters of a book later. A story does not fill in backstory which is completely unnecessary for the furthering of the plot or deepening of the characters every second it gets the chance. A story does not treat its readers like dirt for half a freaking book, forcing them to absorb things which are ultimately useless for the main arc of the plot. Stories are fascinating, not dry and boring and brownish-grey. And stories do not have so much pride their head is up their ass so deep an excavation team cannot get rid of it.
This book is written by someone who wishes to show all the problems with the deep south of America. And they use every dirty trick in the book to make the reader swallow this more than a high school cheerleader in the boy’s change rooms after her team wins the finals. Nothing in this book short of three chapters near the end is actually of any merit. The setting is described to the point where every grain of dust can be extrapolated, without care for change of style, whilst the frankly irritating protagonist questions why someone must move said grain three inches to the left. Hang this. Seriously, had I not been forced to read the bloody thing, I would burn it.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. It can be found on Amazon here.
Yours: J.M. Pear