Mockingbird, Watchman, and Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960, became one of the most beloved novels of the twentieth century. Lee’s fellow Southerner and contemporary Flannery O’Connor was mystified by its success. “It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they are buying a children’s book.” O’Connor, one of the finest short-story writers in American literature, failed to appreciate Lee’s caustic sense of humor and subversive social criticism. In the same category is another classic often mistaken for a children’s book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
There will always be a place on library shelves for good stories, and To Kill a Mockingbird certainly is one. It draws the reader into a deep fictional landscape. Readers return to To Kill a Mockingbird because they want to walk the dusty streets of 1930s Maycomb, run madly through Boo Radley’s backyard at night, or watch the trial of Tom Robinson play out to its disastrous end. Lee’s storytelling voice is strong.
I read both the book and watched the movie, How to Kill a Mockingbird. The book and movie are a classic and rightly so. For a child actor, Harper Lee I thought she delivered just as a powerful performance as Gregory Lee did in the movie. Although this is really about the extent of my knowledge about Harper Lee. I am familiar with hearing and seeing the release of Harper's book, Go Set a Watchman but I have not read the book. Having admiration for Harper Lee I was looking forward to reading this book and learning who Harper Lee was from Scout to Go Set a Watchman. I thought that for the task that Mr. Shields had in front of him with not being able to interview his subject matter for this book, he did a fine job of gathering as much information as he could from others close to Harper Lee. Yet as I was reading this book not a lot of the details were sticking with me. It was like just reading fact cards which are fine but not that exciting. Despite my feelings about this book, I still will be a fan of Harper Lee.