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To Kill a Mockingbird

Narrated by: Sissy Spacek
Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
5 out of 5 stars (27,119 ratings)
Regular price: $30.79
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Publisher's Summary

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.

An Audible for Dogs Pick: Make your dog's day. Cesar Millan shares how audiobooks can make dogs happier and calmer. Learn more.
©1988 Harper Lee (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"It's good to be reminded of the power wielded by this classic of American literature. As the introductory music fades and Sissy Spacek begins her narration, we immediately enter the small town in the Deep South where all the timeless issues of kindness and cruelty, inclusion and prejudice are played out in a story told by a little girl named Scout. Instead of offering a range of accents, Spacek reads the story entirely in her own, or Scout's, voice. The choice works, for the book is written from Scout’s point of view, and Spacek has just the right level of Southern accent for easy listening. This is an unforgettable story well told. 2007 Audies Award Winner." (AudioFile magazine)

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Stunning

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.

162 of 191 people found this review helpful

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Leaves me breathless each time

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."]

100 of 118 people found this review helpful

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A gift to be treasured

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.

128 of 152 people found this review helpful

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Sissy Spacek knockes it out of the park.

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.

59 of 73 people found this review helpful

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Don't hesitate for a even second... !!!

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.

55 of 69 people found this review helpful

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...not a rattle left in any sentence.

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.

34 of 45 people found this review helpful

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Perfectly presented

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.

21 of 30 people found this review helpful

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It's all about timing and time

Listening to "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 2014, what strikes me are the three eras. Here we have a very personal book written 54 years ago about a time 30 years in the past of the author. I constantly kept thinking about 1960 and 1930 and whether the same story would be told the same way by a modern version of Harper Lee.

Lee wrote fondly but with the judgement of an adult about a white child growing up in the south in the 1930's. It's clear that the civil rights movement, though yet to really get started in 1960, was building to a boil at the time she wrote her one and only novel.

Lee tried to subtly apply her beliefs to the book and slowly separate the bigotry of the past (and her present) from the enlightenment that is even now slowly coming to our culture. Her writing is not unlike the true authors of the New Testament Gospels writing about the past decades later but writing for their time and for their audience. Lee's writing is with purpose but also knowing that if you beat the reader over the head with your message, you will lose them every time. No, you have to wrap the medicine in sweet candy and let the reader enjoy the sweet and endure the bitter.

It IS a sweet book and Atticus Finch is the kind of man we can all aspire to be. It's an important book that reminds us that there are good people and bad people everywhere and in every time. It's a great book that tells us that even though we are in many ways products of the culture we live in, right is right and wrong is wrong and we just can't let injustice stand simply because it's "acceptable" to our current society. It's an enjoyable book that takes us back to the innocence of childhood and portrays a very special set of relationships and how they appear to an 8 year old girl.

Beyond the book itself, there is also Sissy Spacek. I was concerned that her reading would not live up to the material, but I was wrong. I came to the book after watching and loving the movie. I worried that the voice of Scout I had heard from Kim Stanley (Scout as an adult) and Mary Badham (Scout as a child) in the movie would not be "right" coming from Ms. Spacek. However, all of her voices match perfectly. This is one time where the book and the movie are not in competition. The movie is as good as the book and just helps you see better than your imagination what Macom looked and felt like. Not to plug the movie here, but Lee and Horton Foote did a masterful job of taking this book and faithfully transferring it to the screen. No, not every detail from the book is in the movie, but it's still a complete telling of the story and was deserving of all of it's accolades, too.

This is not a riveting mystery or a great biography. This book is a timeless yet timely book so well crafted and with a clear message.

You need to listen to this book. Whether you are a baby boomer like me, a gen-Xer, or a millenial, it's a great experience that will stay with you.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Cannot imagine this classic read any better!

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 21 people found this review helpful

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Sissy Spacek the perfect narrator for this classic

Would you listen to To Kill a Mockingbird again? Why?

Yes. And I have already listened twice. It's a classic.

What other book might you compare To Kill a Mockingbird to and why?

It reminds me of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer because they share themes of life in the south through the eyes of a child.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to it the day it was released, and finished it the following morning. That night, I started over again.

Any additional comments?

I'm so happy this was finally released on audio. From what I understand it was recorded in 2006, but it took until 2014 to finally make it available.

Atticus Finch is a great role model of a man who fights for what is right, regardless of what other people think.

19 of 29 people found this review helpful