So, one of the absolute classics of American literature, that is honestly most famous for it's Gregory Peck film version here in Europe and then really only if you're over 40 :)
But with the anniversary and the controversy of the alleged racist language, I was intrigued. And I'm happy I read this book.
I've seen numerous films about the situation of blacks and whites in the 40s and 50s, but even so, this book managed to make me feel
more about the situation than any of those films. The children's view is a well-chosen stylistic tool, but can honestly feel a little forced in today's contemporary setting - Scout seems (even for her age) intentionally oblivious at times, but overall, it works to illustrate the inherent dual feeling of incomprehensibility and "set-in-stone"-ness of the way the segregated society worked at the time.
So, I really liked it and it's message/concept, but I'm not raving about it either :)
I personally think that the book was a bit long for the story it told - the very long "introduction" involving the children's summers and obsession with Boo Radley seems unnecessary even when the end events are revealed. And the story seems to be a bit undecided between being a Southern tale of life or a mystery story at times.
As for the language: it is strong (and I go out of my way to work against being PC for the sake of being PC - there's being considerate, and then there is just being stupid and assuming that all people are delicate and incapable of understanding intent and nuances! Don't get me started ;) - and it was a bit surreal to read the way the characters spoke in such obvious tones and used words that are considered so offensive today - but at the same time, to me, it is what makes (or could have broken) the book! Without the genuine presentation (with all its ugliness) of how people spoke and acted, the story would lose most of its punch and validity - so for me, it is a positive thing that those phrases and words remain in the book - they show us how bad it was and exactly why it was wrong. Removing that would remove the purpose and value of the story in my humble opinion :)
All in all, very happy I read the book - I understand why it's a classic even if I wasn't blown away by it :)