Just before Covid-19 broke lose, I subscribed to Audible and got a free book. I thought long and hard about what book to get since it was free and I wanted it to be good. The cat is out of the bag already on what I picked since you have seen the title of this post. I never had to read To Kill a Mockingbird (labeled as TKAM hereafter) in school and from what I understand, that is where most people read it first. I had to read Great Expectations....and I hated it. I was not scholarly - to say the least, so reading was not something I did for enjoyment. You could find me with watercolors and a crappy paint brush or traipsing through the canyon before you found me with my nose in a book. Much to my Dad's dismay I'm sure. This isn't to say I never read a book - I did read The Outsider's and I really loved that. Anyway, I saw so many reviews for TKAM that said it had to be a book you read just based on the fact it's a beloved American classic. Not to mention all the accolades it has been awarded. So I went with it.
My review on this is in 2 parts.
This is the Audible version of the book narrated by Sissy Spacek. So I obviously did not read the book. I can't recall if I have ever listened to a narrated book before. I want to say I have, but I honestly can't remember. Since I don't have any previous memory of another
narrated book to compare this one to, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Sissy did a magnificent job on this. She's from Texas (don't ask me how I know that....I have no idea) but you would think she is from Maycomb, Alabama and maybe she was Scout as a child. Her natural accent is perfect for this narration. She reads each character with a range of tones to her voice that sets each of them apart so you know when characters are changing and it's not confusing at all. It's not a dramatic change in her voice, just a tone. It still sounds like her, just a slightly higher or slightly lower tone to her voice so the characters dialog isn't all running together. She's very easy to listen to and isn't flat or annoying. This made listening to TKAM very enjoyable for me and I believe is 90% of what I did enjoy about the book. Hat's off to Sissy Spacek for an amazing job!
I could not have actually read the book - this I know for sure. I do not like to read books that have a lot of....description. This book is verrrry descriptive. Sissy can talk for a good couple of minutes and it's all description and very little dialog. I've not seen a copy of the book, but I'm guessing that least 50% of the book is description - if not more. Those kind of books cannot hold my interest very long. I don't care if the sky is the color of grandmas blue dress or if the fields of wheat look like golden waves in the wind. That kind of thing makes me crazy. Yes, it sets the scene, but when there is too much of it, I can't. I remember reading a book that was describing wallpaper. No. I put that book down and never picked it back up. There's a lot of detail in this book about the town, the history, the family and I'm not really sure any of it mattered to the story. In the end, I don't think knowing many of the details shared about Maycomb were really that important or had any real value to the story. It was a lot of filler. But because Sissy is so easy to listen to, I could deal with it and it did not bother me or make me want to skip over anything. Read away in descriptive overabundance, Sissy! I actually think this is why I did not like Great Expectations. I have half a mind to get that audio book next and see if I like it better that way. We'll see. The other thing about TKAM is the age of the story and the content. Of course it deals with some very heavy subject matter. None of which I knew in advance. The reviews I read did not detail the content of the book, but more about the value of it. I think if we all had an Atticus in our lives when we were young (and older) to advise us on moral and social injustices, we would be much better people. Harper Lee was truly a wise woman. I see why this the book received the accolades and why it's an American classic. I'm glad I picked it. And I do agree, everyone should either read or listen to TKAM. I might suggest listening over reading just to be able to enjoy hearing Sissy Spacek read to you.
Have you read TKAM? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts.