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Editor reviews

One of the most notable works of dramatic fiction ever written, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is here in a complete and unabridged classic American literature audiobook narrated by the brilliant Sissy Spacek in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Through Spacek's perfect narration, Lee's beautifully crafted prose comes to life. You may find you have to pause every so often as you listen to reflect on the overall significance this book has had as a demonstration of human achievements in literature. Available now from Audible.

Summary

Beautifully narrated by actress Sissy Spacek, Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning literary masterpiece is unforgettable. Capturing an ephemeral moment in Southern history, it explores uncomfortable truths about justice and the human condition.

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the '30s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will tolerate only so much.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an antiracist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition. Out now as an unabridged audiobook, narrated by Sissy Spacek.

©1960 Harper Lee (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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A truly wonderful book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The book and characters are bought to life in this audible edition.

What other book might you compare To Kill a Mockingbird to, and why?

In some ways it is like the book Help with the southern attitude to the African Americans.

Have you listened to any of Sissy Spacek’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is the only book that I have listened to by Sissy and the fact that she was reading the book encouraged me to buy it. I was not let down by her performance

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to most of the book and then watched the DVD with Gregory Peck and then re stared the book to catch anything I had missed

Any additional comments?

A remarkable book considering it is the only book Harper Lee wrote

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the greats.

I think every avid reader has one particular book, or maybe even a few if they are lucky which leave an indelible mark on them. I’m talking about the books which don’t simply excite or entertain but they leave you changed in some way. Whether it is through sheer exuberance for the story or because the book carried a message that resonated with us. Either way they never leave us and I doubt it’s unusual that they are often books read during our formative years.

There are, I’m afraid, no prizes for guessing that in my case it was To Kill a Mockingbird. Read during my school years growing up in a multicultural town the central messages behind Harper Lee’s story are not revolutionary, they aren’t massively clever but they go to the core of my struggles while growing up. I am certainly not going to preach about what they are but they have been enshrined in my psyche ever since and some key phrases have often anchored me in times of difficulty. Yes, Mockingbird, was *my* book and spoke to me like few others have before or since.

What struck me as I listened to this audio version 35 years later is that those messages are as relevant and important today as they were in my youth and as they were in the time the book was set. Told through the eyes of innocence, and with no little gentle humour this is actually still not an easy book. It’s no pleasantry and it challenges the reader on the fundamental levels of humanity. I’ve often seen the book described primarily as anti-racist and while that is undoubtedly a strong theme it’s about more than that. It tackles all manner of prejudice and the kind of underlying hypocrisy that still flows through much of human society today.

Of course such a book requires a skilled and appropriate narrator. Not knowing too much about her I wouldn’t have had Sissy Spacek on my shortlist but she captures the atmosphere of the American deep South and its languid nature perfectly. She seems to empathise with the innocence and at times exuberance of the key, younger characters. In summary she does a genuinely fine job as a narrator bringing the book to life for our ears. A bad narrator would have been a crime but fortunately she passes with flying colours.

In all, a challenging book now over half a century old brought to life for our listening pleasure and consideration. This is a genuine treasure, spend it wisely.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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You have to listen to this!

Where does To Kill a Mockingbird rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the best audiobook I have listened to so far. The narration is impeccable, the story is brought alive in such a way that it is impossible to believe that we are not listening to Scout herself.

What did you like best about this story?

The story in itself is, of course, a classic which made me nervous about listening - sometimes it is difficult for a story to live up to its massive reputation, but I was not disappointed. The cleverness of making a complicated, messy theme simple through the eyes of the child had me spellbound for the entire length of the recording.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't put it down. I walked everywhere with my kindle trailing alongside catching headphones on anything awkwardly placed.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

my number two favourite book ever

Where does To Kill a Mockingbird rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Although I have placed this book number two in my top ten having read the book twice I would place the audio book a little further down the list because although I did enjoy the narration (4 stars) productions of other audio books I would have rated 5 stars

What was one of the most memorable moments of To Kill a Mockingbird?

childhood suspicions, adult prejudices,causing the final revealing of boo Radley

Which character – as performed by Sissy Spacek – was your favourite?

Scout

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Time moves on predjuces does not

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Obviously a great book, but the performance let it

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Probably not, maybe try and find a different narrator.

What did you like best about this story?

The story

Any additional comments?

Just didn't enjoy the narration sadly, myself and my wife found she just didn't hold our attention. I read the book years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn't really enjoy the audio book as a result of the narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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amazing

Great story, great narration, great book. if i jad ome gripe, its that a fair bit felt left un-said, and the ending felt a little uneventful and sudden conapred to what it felt like it was building up to, but thats being over critical as it wasnt so bad. Not even worth taking a star off! Possibly my new favourite novel.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profound, elegant, beautiful

This is a brilliant, brilliant story; a moral fable told through the eyes of Scout Finch, and her warmth and immediacy and powerful sense of right and wrong, a sense with which she has been imbued by her father Atticus, is the pivot on which an everyday story of Southern bigotry balances. And the effort to understand and value almost all the bigots is one of the key graces of the book.

Sissy Spacek animates Scout and the other characters, particularly Dill, beautifully. She seems less assured dealing with the long narrative sequences told by Scout as an adult, but they are less well suited to dramatic presentation than the dialogue. Ms. Spacek is Texan, which may mean that her Alabaman accent was off, but I wouldn't know. It sounded fine to me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Superb performance

I was gripped from the first moment. The narration is wonderful. I would recommend this very highly. Moving, touching and humane.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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It's a sin to kill a Mockingbird

An excellent riveting story well read by Sissey Spasek. This is a story about race in the American Deep South in 1935 and set in the Depression. It is told through the eyes is Scout Finch, the 8 year old daughter of lawyer, Atticus Finch. It is about good and bad, morals, religion, prejudice and hypocrisy. Although it deals with an alleged rape by a black man on a white trash woman, a subject hardly appropriate for her age, the 8 year old girl deals with the reality of how it affects all those around her in Makum County Alabama in a sensible way, beyond her years. It is the way Atticus Finch has brought her up after her mother died. On several occasions she is the catalyst for taking the heat out of a difficult situation by what she says, often with words of truth and kindness. One up for women! I didn't read this until I was 65, but wish I had when I was about 17. It would have taught me a lot. There are some superb quotes in the book especially "To kill a mockingbird is a sin" because it sings its heart out for us and never does us any harm like killing etc. It is allegorical to the storyline.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • Potterton, United Kingdom
  • 27-09-14

Wonderful and beguiling story

I am not sure how I had managed to live so long and not read this classic book but if like me you come to this fresh then this is a fantastic introduction to this landmark book. If you love the book, then you are in safe hands.

Sissy Spacek's narration is wonderful, beguiling and seemed perfect. the soft, southern accents perfectly recalling the thoughts and viewpoint of a young girl.

The characters are also beguiling - Aticus Finch must be everyone's ideal father, and the children, Jim, Scout and Dill, are realistic and yet charming. The story is both domestic and intense and also global and significant. As a reader/listener, one certainly has to challenge one's prejudices and views.

A must listen.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Naomi
  • 11-12-14

The best audiobook you'll buy

Would you listen to To Kill a Mockingbird again? Why?

Yes, it's hard to describe except to say that I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book as much and I read a lot!

Which character – as performed by Sissy Spacek – was your favorite?

Sissy Spacek was the perfect narrator.

Any additional comments?

Buy it now!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Gary Pollard
  • Gary Pollard
  • 22-08-14

I waited too long to listen to this book

What did you love best about To Kill a Mockingbird?

Wonderful story and expertly read by Sissy Spacek. Sissy breathes true life into the characters in her reading.

What other book might you compare To Kill a Mockingbird to and why?

Nothing I have read can compare to this story in this genre, outstanding.

What about Sissy Spacek’s performance did you like?

Sissy Spacek read the novel with such a confident grasp of the narrator that it's hard to believe she is not speaking directly to you.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Don't listen to this story whilst grocery shopping, or if you do, head to the produce section and pretend the onions are getting to you and not the emotions of the story.

Any additional comments?

Why did I wait so long to hear this story, don't make my mistake. It was a great listen and a masterfully told story, five stars all round.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anuradha Gupta
  • 06-12-17

Fell in love

The narrator was so good and I could picture everything so perfectly. It was a delight

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Donald Hugh McDonald
  • Donald Hugh McDonald
  • 14-11-17

A Great Story

Very unpredictable a terrific story.
one of the best I have read with a great surprising ending.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sukanya
  • Sukanya
  • 26-09-17

A classic...

Books like these change something within you..in a good way...The narrator was awesome especially Jean Louis voice was awesome...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dedre
  • Dedre
  • 15-09-17

Don't kill emotionally

Such a pleasure to listen to this excellent book after doing it as a setwork book 35 years ago. Didn't understand all of it then but got all of it now. Heart warming. Thanks Sissy. Well read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Abhinav Goel
  • Abhinav Goel
  • 01-06-17

So good..

It was so good. I'm happy to hear it. ☺
Would recommend. The narrator's voice took some getting used to until I could fully understand what she was saying, but it was worth it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shannagen
  • 03-12-16

very interesting!

the narrator did an amazing job. The author is simply genius to be able to take such a heavy subject and deliver it from a child's perspective.. kudos.. im so glad i completed the book till the end..

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dee
  • 28-03-16

Sissy brings the words to life

This classic book with its beautiful prose and profound subject matter is one that you just can't stop reading. Sissy Spacek is perfect as the narrator and provides the nuances required to deliver this book as it was imagined. I will listen to this again to hear the prose and her voice again

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Abhishek
  • Abhishek
  • 03-12-15

Review

Would you try another book from Harper Lee and/or Sissy Spacek?

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Would you recommend To Kill a Mockingbird to your friends? Why or why not?

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What about Sissy Spacek’s performance did you like?

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