2) In my humble opinion, this is the bar to which YA fiction should aspire.
3) Atticus Finch is very probably the best (fictional) human being to ever walk the (fictional) earth.
4) I don't fully understand the magic with which Lee has woven this story, but somehow she managed to write a sober, poignant, heartbreaking tale addressing some pretty hardcore themes (race, class, gender, family, community, loyalty, justice, rape, murder, and on and on and on) without it being depressing as hell (though I'm sure having the story told from the point of view of a precocious 7-8 year old has something to do with). I've been avoiding it forever because it sounded so dark and depressing, and though it deals with some pretty serious stuff, it's all unquestionably underlined by the ideas of hope, optimism, compassion, and unwavering belief in the fundamental goodness of human beings.
5) How did no one assign me this book in school??? Required reading for all teenagers, I say, particularly in the South.
6) Actually, make that anyone who lives in this country. Just go read it.