Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee

My latest read  was The Mockingbird Next Door - Life With Harper Lee by Marja Mills. Not sure why this caught my eye, but it did. I am careful about books that have tried to capitalize on Harper Lee.  Ms. Mills has managed to give us a birds eye view of Harper Lee, but also to let the mockingbird continue to sing through her original work and thus maintain her privacy.

Interjection -- I read a lot and especially anything that has to do with Monroe County, Alabama. My mother grew up in that county. So I've lived a life hearing stories from that area. Continuing...

Needless to say, Marja Mills must have had the "journalistic gods" with her on the day she tapped on the front door of Harper and Alice Lee. To be invited in and then to spend time with the elusive author is what I call "happenstance" (circumstance especially that is due to chance). What are the chances? But it did happen and we now get a firsthand look at the life of Nelle Harper Lee and her older sister Alice Lee and their close friends. How she has managed to elude the press and people who would have otherwise stalked her is beyond me. I do know that when you go "visiting" in Monroe County or any little crossroads in that county, people will know you are there. It is a grapevine like none I've ever witnessed before. A license plate number that begins with letters other than their own county, is recognized as someone "visiting". The grapevine starts buzzing as to who might be "visiting". People will know who you are before you leave the county. Enough about the grapevine....

The book was an escape for me. It took me on a journey that you wouldn't understand unless you had relatives who grew up in that area. It is an understanding of a close-knit community of friends. Friends who treat you the same no matter who you had become in the eyes of the outside world. They let Harper Lee continue to live her life without interference and kept her confidences so she could do just that -- live a basic, unencumbered life.

Harper Lee did not write another book after To Kill a Mockingbird. A sequel could have followed. There is so much about Scout, Jem and Dill that would have made a sequel within reach.

My prayer is that more people will continue to read To Kill a Mockingbird and take to heart the life lessons conveyed by Atticus, Jem and Scout.

Thank you Marja Mills for not giving up and staying the course or as they say in Monroe County "keep on keeping on".