Unpopular opinion here: I have never really been a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I appreciated it, but feel we are made to read “the classics” too soon. But then again, even high school could be too soon for the reader who is a reader, but not necessarily a sophisticated reader.
We know the story of To Kill a Mockingbird; therefore, I will not go into the plot. I will say that it was like reading it for the first time. I had forgotten so much that I am not sure how “pure” this adaptation is; but have read that Fred Fordham was true to the original text. And I can attest that his illustrations are, frankly, far out!
But they do have a slight “oddness” to them. There seemed to be a few details missing on the facial expressions, as if the faces were not a hundred percent “finished.” Yet, I enjoyed them. They fit the story and tell you events almost before the text is read. They have a good feeling to them and show you the time and place perfectly.
I was also never a fan of Cliff Notes, Readers Digest or abridged versions of classics. Which I find slightly amusing since I have this new-found love of the classic in a graphic novel. Yet, this new interest I think goes into a more sophistication of understanding “things” on my part. I know the story but now also the history of the times and understand people better; therefore, appreciating it more. I can understand why Jem says and does the things he does to Scout about her being “more a girl every day” and why Atticus might be a good man, but he, too, has the flaws of his time.
My favorite line was that Tom Robison was dead the minute Mayella opened her mouth and hollered. My favorite theme is “things are not what they always seem.” And as a kid reading this, I would have taken this “on the surface.” I would have believed that regardless of that line, justice had to be served. After all, he was innocent, right? And I would see people as if they had the same experiences, biases and outlook as I did.
With today’s eyes, I can wonder why Arthur “Boo” Radley is the way he is. He gets into trouble as a kid, but maybe there is a reason behind that, like he is slower than “normal” and therefore does not understand consequences of actions and his father “locks him away” in a loving, but ill-conceived, attempt to protect Boo from “the bad things.” I now see that Atticus was up against not just the prejudices of the town, but the nation. With today’s eyes I can say, I bet Scout was on the autism scale (since scholars think Harper Lee herself was and since Scout is Lee it is a logical conclusion).
Any rereading of a book, or just reading a classic for the first time, as an adult cannot help but make you see things differently. And luckily with the graphic novel adaptation of To Kill a Mocking Bird, I was able to see things (literally) in a new light.