Harper Lee is referred to as a “one book author,” but I think it’s more she only authored one book. What I’ve read from various sources, she did contribute quite a bit to Capote’s work, “In Cold Blood.” If circumstances had been different, perhaps she would have authored more work: stories and/or articles about of the human condition and changes (lack of change) in human rights, a syndicated column on the changes of society, perhaps another few books.
After reading, and re-reading, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” I was suprised at how well she captured the memory of being a child and viewing life in such a specific perspective of right/wrong, of being love, being annoyed, being frightened near to death of the unknown and imminent danger at a young age. It’s a favorite book that I pull from the shelf (or open on my ereader) to re-read favorite passages or in its entirety.
I read two of the “unauthorized biography” books out of so many out there, but nearly chucked both of them across the room due to too much information from “sources wishing to remain anonymous.” I thought never to read another until listening to the author interview on NPR about her book, “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee” by Marja Mills.
I read it. Devoured it, actually. I agree with the author that this is more a memoir of her interactions with Miss Nelle Harper Lee and the author’s struggle living a life with lupus versus any kind of biography for NHL. The book is laid out in a collection of vignettes. Nothing salacious, all of it interesting to see how much or how little life has changed for the NHL. It’s interesting to see NHL, and her sister Alice, as complex and interesting human beings and not the myths that have sprung up around NHL. I hadn’t expected anything much in this book as NHL is an intensely private person, and I wasn’t surprised by anything (or lack of anything) in the book.
I’m not a bit shocked or surprised about NHL disavowing any cooperation, any permission, any encouragement to Mills in writing this book. In fact, I’d be disappointed if NHL had not issued her statement as she did when the book was published.
Interesting book if you’re a fan of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and/or NHL.