To Mock a Killingbird
“What a stupid title for a book.”
To Mock a Killingbird is the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Written by Harper Lee, it deals with her adventures growing up in Alabama, which culminate in her revenge on the bird that took her father's life.
The book begins with Harper recalling the events that occurred during the summer of love in 1968. It all begins with a bad trip that sends her thirty years into the past, to that summer when she mocked the killingbird...
Harper: Hah, you're a killingbird. Killingbird: Don't mock me. Harper: I'm mocking you! Killingbird: I mean it. Don't mock me. Harper: That's it! I ain't gonna take none of this no more!
Harper realizes that she cannot remember what the killingbird did. So she goes on a quest- not just any quest- but a quest to find out who broke her brother Gem's arm. But then she decides to attend Woodstock instead. Meanwhile, the 1938 Harper suffers the consequences. She is exiled from Alabama and roams throughout the Chinese wilderness. She becomes a Chinese cotton-picker and in her travels, drunk on cotton gin, she stumbles upon a Boy Scout and a young Oscar Wilde. This is when Oscar and She decide to write the book, The Portrait of Dorian Gray which became an instant best seller. little do the general public know that Harper Lee was the motivation behind that great American Novel. That is the end of Chapter 1. The next several chapters were directed by Benito Mussolini, another Chinese cotton-picker who worked with Lee and Widle and hated them, and therefore have nothing to do with the rest of the book; but with the struggles of Italy in the early 1940's.
The plot resumes in the middle of chapter 5 as Harper's father, the brave Spartacus Finch, is leading a revolt of the Chinese cotton-pickers, which his daughter is part of, enslaved by the killingbird aka, sheriff Hell Tate. Ultimately, Harper discovers the meaning of love and friendship in the arms of her erstwhile lover, "Boo" Radical. Her and Boo move from Honeycomb, Alabama, to the West Caribbean where they discover the secrets of the lost City of Atlanta. After making this magnificent discovery, they decide to take a break in the Amazon Rain Forest. While on a safari with the Aztecs, they stumble upon the Fountain of Youth. They restore their childhood forever and go back to the hoppin' old town of Honeycomb, Alabama. There, they realize that life is the way they want it to be, young and free. And they all live happily ever after, forever, because they have infinite youth.
The book is seen as a clash of modern literature with historical fact. Its stream-of-consciousness style, constant historical allusions, and completely incomprehensible narrative are thought to be genius by people who have never read the book, and never wish to. Those who have read it declare it to be "a 9,000 page work of trash," as Roger Ebert so aptly put it. Real literary critics, however, have ranked it with Ulysses and Hamlet in terms of boringness, but up there with "The Oddessey" in terms of length. Is To Mock a Killingbird worth reading? The debate rages on.