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Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook.
One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father - a crusading local lawyer - risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
The perfect book and the perfect narrator come together here to create an American treasure. I don't have the vocabulary to speak highly enough of how special this book is on Audible.
Sissy Spacek's narration of this story is genius. She goes beyond even the great narrators like Patton, Hill, and Hurt. Her performance is not just technically perfect, it's illuminating. She's so smooth between characters. I can't even detect how she changes her voice and tone between Jim and Scout, but she does, just ever so slightly. It's hard to explain how amazing it is. I can see the dirt road, I can smell the dirty kid next to Scout in her class, I can feel the summer breeze on the back porch where they sleep. Yes, it's Harper Lee that creates that amazing imagery, but Spacek makes it an intimate experience that I felt honored to be a part of.
The book and story of course are above being "reviewed." It's a beautifully crafted story where every word is so intentional. The writing is dense with meaning while flowing perfectly.
It's a shame that Harper Lee only had one book published. Or maybe Mockingbird is such a gift that maybe it needs to stand alone.
96 of 108 people found this review helpful
To Kill A Mockingbird isn't in my top 10 list. It isn't in my top 5 list. It's in my top 1 list. Other reviewers have called it the perfect book. It is. One reviewer said that Sissy Spacek knocked it out of the park. She did. For some reason I find it hard to review this book. Superlatives are just words that we've all heard. This is a book that you must immerse yourself in to understand just how stunning this work is. Ok, I know I'm gushing and this is all over the top, but Harper Lee's novel has layer upon layer upon layer. It has many moments that just clutch at your throat. One is at the close of the trial, as another reviewer mentioned. Another that stands out for me is when the innocence of youth dispels the anger of the mob on the jailhouse steps, forcing them to face their humanity. I could go on and on. But I can't say anything that hasn't been said before.
114 of 129 people found this review helpful
How many books have you lived in; walked the streets waving to old ladies on their front porches, smelled pound cakes cooling on window ledges, knew which houses to give a wide berth when passing by, and missed when you left? Like Twain's enduring fictional classic Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird is a story so well told, so perfect, that you stroll through it and dwell for a while, coming away from it different for having been there. For many of us we visited Harper Lee's Maycomb to get our HS diploma, and it seems a natural progression to go back. I wonder if we miss those characters, or the healing balm of hearing a precocious little girl's voice cry out, "Hey, Mr. Cunningham. I'm Jean Louise Finch...I go to school with Walter; he's your boy aint he?"
As she shows so many times in her one and only novel, Harper Lee is a born story teller. The back stories of the characters are immense, yet told with an economy of words that contain volumes. You experience this especially your second time through...Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose, what have you suffered to become so mean; what has Mr. Dolphus Raymond learned about people that keeps him content to have townsfolk believe that's a bottle of whiskey, instead of a regular ol' Coca Cola, in that little brown sack; how has Link Deas kept his humanity; does every town spit out a Bob Ewell; and what is Miss Maudie's pound cake recipe? -- there's a not an insignificant character or event in this book. It is a treasure trove of stories and lessons. I'd love a couple hours of Calpurnia talking about the day old Tim Johnson, Judge Taylor's dog, came shuffling down the road, rabid and threatening, sending the neighborhood into their homes, barring their windows... But Lee left us with just this one brilliant book.
To Kill A Mockingbird was published July 11, 1960 and has never gone out of print. When contemplating whether to review this (what I think is THE perfect novel), I had to wonder "is there really anything that hasn't already been said?" In this case, *Sissy Spacek*; no matter how many times you have read this novel, or even listened, Spacek, with her sweet drawl, IS Scout, speaking back through the years, recounting her story. She is the perfect choice for a perfect novel.
Though it is cliché to say it, this beautiful novel feeds your spirit. The easy wisdom reminds us of the importance of having understanding and love for others, demonstrated without guile or pretense by the innocence of children. The moral integrity and gentle strength of Atticus brings tears to my eyes (and has inspired the line *What would Atticus do?*) just thinking that we as human beings have the capability of such grace. Quotes from this superb novel fill notebooks I keep, but it is always two words, repeated half a dozen time by Jem, when his father orders him to take Scout and flee the angry mob at the jail, that choke me up. They contain all that there is of love, courage, and strength...even a young boy's faith in mankind, "No, Sir." They get me every time.
*[Addressing the frequent use of the *N* word; quoted from Banned Books Awareness;
A worldwide literacy project to celebrate the freedom to read.: "The American Library Association reports that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most challenged classics of all time because of the racial slurs and discussion of rape and incest, and still ranks at number 21 of the 100 most frequently challenged books." "In 1968 the National Education Association placed the novel second on a list of titles receiving the most complaints from private organizations. The top spot belonged to Little Black Sambo."]
85 of 97 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to To Kill a Mockingbird again? Why?
I first listened to this recording more than 10 years ago on a road trip with my family. It is one of the best-read audiobooks I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I am so excited my pre-order finally came in so I can relive that experience.
What does Sissy Spacek bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
She captures Scout completely - sometimes it's difficult for me to "get inside" younger protagonists's heads and Sissy Spacek makes that a non-issue.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
For me, the most moving moment in this book has always been when the entire black community stands up when Atticus passes under them in the courtroom.
54 of 64 people found this review helpful
I have search for this book on Audible regularly, hoping it would eventually appear - oh my goodness, it was well worth the wait! The book is the much beloved, Pulitzer Prize winning classic we all met in school.
The only question left is "how is the narration?"
The answer: Sissy Spacek does as good as I have heard or better!
Wish I could give this book a 10 star rating.
51 of 62 people found this review helpful
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT DICTION
In the movie Atticus was played by Gregory Peck. Who wouldn't want to have Peck as their dad? Than you read the book and he turns out to be an even greater dad. Such memories of small town life in this book. I once lived in a small town and we even had a house on the corner we avoided because the old lady who lived there would come out and yell at you to get off of her street. Course there were rumors she had a shotgun she was not afraid to use and kids where dared to approach her house, etc.
WERE YOU EVER A TURTLE?
The movie was great and you should see it, but it is only part of the book. The look at small town life is so true, plus the town being made up of a few families, that's the way it was in the small town I lived in. This is beautifully written and I had it at five stars until the last seven chapters, it kind of meandered at the end. The look at the treatment of blacks and the stubbornness of bigots, even when faced with the undeniable truth, was so true. I see the same thing today between political parties. I even liked Jim's remark in answer to a kid saying turtles don't feel pain. HOW DO YOU KNOW, WERE YOU EVER A TURTLE? Spacek is great.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful
Like many others, I've read this book a number of times and have always appreciated it as very fine work. Hearing it - rather than reading it - is a completely different experience. Simply said, I fell in love with it.
In a novel, James Lee Burke writes about his fictional daughter Alafair editing her own work until there isn't a "rattle left in any sentence." That's a perfect description for Harper Lee's writing. Even though I've read it before, I really missed just how perfectly this prose has been crafted. It's so tight. When I slowed down and listened, it became apparent. On that level alone, it's brilliant.
The issues of race, respect and otherness it raises are just as relevant today as they were in 1960 when it was written and in 1935 where it was set. The characters have a timeless appeal. I have a greater appreciation of the balance between observations by a child and interpretation of those events by a grown woman looking back. For some reason, this too became clearer listening to the book rather than reading it.
Sissy Spacek does a terrific job with the material. Her narration isn't spectacular in a Will Patton or George Guidall kind of way. Rather, it's understated. She never gets in the way of the story. She's perfect as the older, wiser Scout looking back. I loved listening to her and the subtle way she reads the book and gives voice to its characters. Perhaps another narrator would have given the book a showier treatment. Spacek gives it authenticity.
There are only three other authors who leave me so awed with their talent: Wallace Stegner, Eudora Welty and Willa Cather. Their books are a pleasure to experience again and again. This is no exception. It doesn't matter how many times you've read this book. Listening to it is a new experience and well worth a credit.
30 of 39 people found this review helpful
One of my favorite books. I'm not even going to try to recap the story, but I will say that Sissy Spacek's narration is absolutely perfect. She brings a total honesty and directness to the story that illuminates each chapter. This is a great way to experience this American classic.
14 of 18 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Sissy Spacek gave this book the narration it deserves. She brought this classic American Novel to life. Writing reviews is not my strong suit but this audio book is highly recommended.
18 of 24 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to To Kill a Mockingbird again? Why?
I will listen to this book again. I read this book for the first time when I was 12. I read it again with my son when he was 12, and again with my daughter last year when she turned 12. I was delighted when it became available as an audiobook. It is a classic whose meaning never loses value.
What was one of the most memorable moments of To Kill a Mockingbird?
There are many very memorable moments. <br/><br/>1. We will remember Scout's first day of school. <br/>2. We will remember Dill's appearance at the fence. <br/>3. We will remember the rumors about "Boo Radley."<br/>4. We will remember the trial of Tom Robinson.<br/>5. We will remember the painful verdict.<br/>6. We will remember the attack on the Jim and Scout.<br/>7. We will remember Atticus's belief that Jim killed Mr. Ewell.<br/>8. We will remember Scout's dawning recognition of the beauty in her childhood boogie man. <br/><br/>It is a truly amazing story.
Which scene was your favorite?
One of my favorite moments was when Scout and Jim find the carved figures of themselves. Another favorite scene was the introduction of Dill. He bursts into the story with the energy of a jumping bean. He leads Jim and Scout where they otherwise might not have gone, and remind us of the bonds of friendship that only really exist in childhood.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes... But unfortunately I had to get to sleep. So it had to be done in 2 parts.
Any additional comments?
This is probably my favorite required read from my childhood. It's unfortunate that this book is no longer taught in English classes across this country. It speaks directly to the issue of racism and the deep injustice of it. It reminds us that our children are not born with this hatred, it is learned.
14 of 20 people found this review helpful