Sunday, February 8, 2015

An Alabama Sensation

Chances are you have seen a lot about Alabama in the news this week. If you are a reader, you were surprised to hear that one book wonder, Harper Lee, has another book that will be published this year. Nelle Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in the early 60s and that has been her only published work. But now we find out that she has written another book, Go Set a Watchman, which will be published this year. Apparently Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird and deals with Scout as an adult. Like everyone else, I look forward to reading it but it will be a rather guilty pleasure. 

Anyone who lives in Alabama knows that Harper Lee is a very private person and does not appreciate any questions about her novel.  The people of Monroeville, Alabama have allowed their famous citizen to live a normal life in their midst. One of my favorite books of 2014 was The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills.  Ms Mills told what it was like to live next door to spinster sisters, Alice and Nelle Lee.  I was just enchanted with this book and appreciated the wit and spunk of these old Southern Ladies. Of course, Harper Lee would tell anyone who would listen that she had not approved of the book as Ms Mills proclaimed to the public. Then Alice chimed in and said that yes, Nelle Harper Lee had known Marja was writing a book and so it went, back and forth!  

Then comes word ( not long after Alice's death by the way) that lo and behold there is a new Harper Lee novel and Ms Lee is fine with it being published.  I could not help but wonder exactly what Harper Lee understood about this situation. In her 80s, Ms Lee is in poor health and did she really give her consent to the publisher? I am sure this point will be much debated. But then debate has surrounded To Kill a Mockingbird as well. At the time it was published there were rumors that Nelle's childhood friend, Truman Capote, wrote To Kill a Mockingbird...or maybe he wrote part of it...or he came up with the idea. You get the picture.   

Like most Alabama readers, I look forward to reading this new book and I hope it is good because I want Harper Lee to prove to the masses that she is a good writer and that To Kill a Mockingbird was truly her very own story!!

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