The Mockingbird Next Door

The Mockingbird Next Door

Life With Harper Lee

Book - 2014
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel's celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation--and a great friendship.
In 2004, with the Lees' blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees' inner circle of friends.
Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story--and the South--right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.
The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills's friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.
Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees' life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Press,, 2014.
ISBN: 9781594205194
Characteristics: 278 pages : illustrations


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Mar 10, 2015

Where was the editor? Mills apparently wrote an article about Lee for a Chicago paper that apparently had real information about Lee - she tells us she did - but she doesn't include the content in the book. This book is all about Mills. Boring.

LaughingOne Nov 05, 2014

I was disappointed too. I likely shouldn't have been; I had read how reclusive and reticent Lee was. Mills (the author) herself kept carrying on about how unusual it was for Lee and her sister to open to outsiders, and Mills was definitely an outsider. Yet Mills presented herself as a fortunate woman who was invited into this inner circle. In some ways, the book seemed to be more about Mills, her physical illness, and what she thought about Monroeville and the people she met there, and less about really getting into the lives of the Lee sisters. I felt let down.

Aug 18, 2014

Life can be pretty boring, even for a best-selling author whose one and only book was, and continues to be, a phenomenal best-seller and often-studied treatise on southern living in the 20th century, and whose book, when made into a movie, only gained more stature, with the movie also then becoming iconic. And as I waded through this account of an unlikely friendship between Harper Lee, her sister Alice, and the journalist author, all I could think was 'wow, this is so mundane'.

beebee40 Aug 06, 2014

Mills tried hard to write an interesting book; she made a valiant effort. She is to be admired for the effort, work; however, there is much"padding", and the annoying use of "over a cup of coffee" and other repetition grates.

At the core I do not believe Mills was able to penetrate, Nelle's armor. Feeding the ducks does not reveal much about the sisters. Little was learned about the reclusive Nelle, or of Alice.

I was disappointed.

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