BOOK REVIEW: To Kill a Mockingbird (Unpopular Opinion Time)

3.5 stars.

I just want to start out by saying that I did like this book. Whatever else might be true about it, it is still a great story. And I’m probably just reading it in the wrong time, because I’m looking at the slew of 5-star reviews from my contemporaries and wondering what it is they see in this book to that extent. Sometimes I think people rate classic novels highly because they’re supposed to think these books are the best literature of all time. To me, this novel is dated because it’s predominantly about white people teaching and learning about the evils of racism (although Atticus Finch, the book’s pillar of wisdom, is far too tolerant of intolerance for my taste) rather than about black people actually facing that racism. The book’s black characters are faced with everything from outright murder to microaggressions throughout the book, and I can’t but wonder how kids today feel (especially black kids) when they’re being forced to read this decades-old tome for class. There are new voices telling stories about contemporary racism that are far more relevant and insightful for this day and age, and I wish those books could get a chance in the classroom instead.

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