Susan, the manager at our local library branch knows my book tastes. Through our many conversations, she even knows a lot of the books I’ve read. So when she told me about the release of a book about Harper Lee , I told her to put it on hold for me as soon as it became available.
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee” by Marja Mills, reveals just about everything we want to know about the author who took her Pulitzer and seemingly disappeared. Over the years, I’d heard her called a recluse. Many asked why, if she was so talented, she didn’t write another novel. People also commented that “If your first novel won such a prestigious award, why bother to write another?”
Deciding to not be out in the limelight was probably just a part of Lee’s personality. Maybe going to cocktail parties and having to answer the same questions repeatedly became wearying to her.
Mills’ book about Nelle (Harper is Lee’s middle name) explains a lot of what people wanted to know. But in her opinionated and straightforward way, Nelle said her life hadn’t really been one of seclusion at all. She began to stay in her New York City home less frequently and eventually moved back home to Monroeville, Alabama with her sister, Alice. She knew the people well in the town where they grew up. Life there seemed to make her content.
Now, exciting news for fans says that another book written by Harper Lee will be released in July. “Go Set a Watchman,” a sequel to Mockingbird, is creating just as much of a stir as when Lee left the public eye following publication of her prize-winning novel. And the stir doesn’t seem to be all positive.
It seems no one has ever been nor will ever be happy with whatever happens.
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning novel published in 1960 is my favorite story. There are many which rank right up there with it, but I’ve read this story three times and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve watched the movie.
For my part, if Harper Lee wrote another book about Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout, I’m not going to question it. I just hope my friend Susan asks if I’d like to be put on hold for it. How could I say “no”?
It’s an offer I can’t refuse.