Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills
This biography of the reclusive writer Harper Lee has been embroiled in controversy since publication. Harper Lee has issued a written statement publicly denouncing the author which states the book was written without her cooperation. After reading the book I tend to believe the news reports that state Harper Lee is in a different state of mind after a stroke in 2007 and that may have affected her feelings regarding the book. Unless Mills is totally fabricating things she had cooperation from Harper Lee and her sister Alice to get such a detailed picture of their day to day life over so many years. I find it telling that as far as I can tell the friends of the Lees mentioned in the book have not made any public statements denouncing the book.
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time and I really enjoyed the glimpse this book gave into the world of Nelle Harper Lee and her sister Alice. It is a slow paced narrative weaving Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills depiction of daily life in Monroeville, Alabama with the memories gleaned from the two sisters regarding their experiences that shaped the book's creation and also how they lived in with the aftermath of book's enduring popularity. It was particularly funny to hear how Harper Lee felt about the depiction of herself in the Truman Capote biopics.