After fifty years, readers return to Maycomb County, the setting for Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning coming-of-age novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and the characters we grew to love are unrecognizable. Namely, Scout goes by Jean Louise, and you find out early on that her brother, Jem, has died. If you have any expectation that the novel will have you reminiscing about the adventures of Scout, Jem, and Boo Radley, you are sorely mistaken. Jean Louise returns home from New York City in order to see her arthritis-ridden father. She grew up to be what seems to be a compelling woman for her time. Unlike most, she goes off to college and fends for herself while voices of her past suggest that she come home and get married. The novel reveals a new, main character Henry Clinton— a man who follows in the footsteps of Atticus Finch. And, Jean Louise, at one time, seems like she may marry that man.
The book exposes strong, witty, and sometimes funny internal banter regarding love, family, and small town politics. Lee captures the true nature of the Southern, small town of which some is still applicable to today. The writing exceeds bounds which many books of today have set. However, the plot seems to be a bit under-edited. Jean Louise over-exaggerates a lot of what happens to her; the book gives much insight into her tendencies to build mountains out of molehills. However, with that said, such over-dramatization emphasizes the experience most go through. Namely, we realize everything changes, and people aren’t always what we expect them to be. The novel embodies a plot similar to Lee’s staple, the coming-of-age story. However, this story happens later in life exposing that age is irrelevant: we all have growing up to do.
Furthermore, the book exposes Jean Louise’s struggle with the racial bias that exists within her home— Maycomb County. She realizes that racial turmoil existed in her past which crushes her view of her childhood. Atticus Finch has been the character under the microscope for most. However, if you were to read the book without comparing him to the way he was perceived in To Kill a Mockingbird, the change wouldn’t be so earth-shattering which proves bittersweet to the overall plot. Namely, with a comparison, Atticus’s dark side shines a bit darker which gives the plot a stronger twist. However, if the book is read fresh, or without comparison, the transformation doesn’t seem to be that potent.