Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mills' mockingbird memoir: fact or fiction? (Marja Mills, The Washington Post, July 19)

Former Chicago Tribune reporter Marja Mills is right in one respect regarding recluse Harper Lee—famous Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”—who withdrew from the public spotlight in the early 1960s.  Given that well known fact, why 50 years later would Ms. Lee suddenly actively participate in an unauthorized biography penned by Mills claiming her verbal approval and cooperation?  Indeed, if the latter was in agreement, living next door would have been wholly unnecessary as Ms. Lee could have opened her door to a welcome visitor at any time.  Indeed, moving next door for a year and a half implies some level of spying or stalking.  The fact that Ms. Lee has publicly disavowed “The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee” means it is likely an indirect and parasitic effort; an issue understandably not raised by Mills in her self-promoting puff piece or the editors of The Washington Post who evidently do not find Ms. Lee's contrary views newsworthy to mention.  Ms. Lee might have killed a mockingbird in her classic American novel, but Ms. Mills seem content only to exploit the literary golden goose.

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