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Book review: Nelle Harper Lee

July 11, 2015

In anticipation of the release of the new Harper Lee title, Go set a watchman, you may want to visit the classic, the title by which all American modern fiction is measured, To Kill a Mockingbird. The new title was written before Mockingbird, remained unpublished and is a sequel to Mockingbird, telling the tale of the adult Jean Louise Finch Scout.

Here is a review pleading for folks to read the classic, Mockingbird, first posted here in June 2012:

I thought I knew the story. I’ve heard it discussed, referred to, and referenced since I learned to read. I felt I knew more about this book (that I’d never read) than most of the books I have read. I fancied myself knowing more than most about Nelle Harper Lee – how Scout is based on her own child self and how Dill is Nelle’s childhood friend Truman Capote. I’ve heard the literary rumblings that Scout is not, in fact, based on the childhood Nelle, but Boo Radley is Miss Nelle as a girl. And ole mean spirited Truman got his just rewards in the end by alienating all his high society New York “swans” and died a social leper his self.

Turns out I knew nothing. Do you feel like you know the story? Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? No? I’m telling you, read it. Read it for the brave child of nearly nine that you know, or knew, or were, or wish you still were. Read it for the language, the pure unaffected Southernness of it. Read it because the last three pages of chapter thirteen will break your heart. The very last pages of chapter fifteen will stop your heart. And you will never read anything as true in any book ever.

“Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”