I sat in the balcony looking down at my father, Abraham, as he asked Tim Robertson about the book, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee.
“Tim, you said this was a wonderful book. Can you provide any further details?”
“Yes suh. I only knows a little about Miss. Lee. She’s a remarkable lady from South Alabama. Won a number of prizes despite only publishin’ this one book. This particular book see, it’s about the adventures of a young girl, ‘Scout’ Finch, an’ her brother Jem. Sort of not unlike your own chillun suh, if you don’t mind me sayin’ so.”
Abraham just nodded. I realised that Tim was polite. His manners were as good as Abraham’s, in his own way.
“The first half is mighty charmin’. Scout and Jem prey on the overheard whispers of the adult world, as they go about havin’ various adventures. The reader sorta builds up a good sense for the inhabitants of the town where they live, Maycomb. It’s an engrossin’ read, even if some of the characters might seem one-dimensional at times. Also, a thread that begins in this half an’ is picked up later on, in the second half, is that of the mystery of Scout’s elusive neighbour, Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley.
“The second half is more serious in tone, and is devoted largely to Atticus’ courtroom battle to defend Tom Robinson, a black man in the precarious position of having been accused of rapin’ and beatin’ a white girl.
“Overall suh, I’d say it’s a rewardin’ read. The guileless charm of the narrator, Scout, and the colourful characters she meets soon draw the reader into what turns out to be a powerful story about prejudice an’ the loss of innocence, with a dramatic finish, suh.”
“Thank-you Tim,” said Abraham, “That will be all.”