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Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (2006)

by Charles J. Shields

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As a life long reader, I am sad to say, I was late to the To Kill a Mockingbird party. I was never required to read it in school. So, I never did. I finally read this book in my late 30’s. What an impact! I am glad I waited to read this. I feel the book had more meaning to me because of my age. After I finished the novel, I immediately rented the movie. Once again, I had to see what all the fuss was about. And the fuss….was very well done!

Mockingbird – A Portrait of Harper Lee added so much to my repsect for Harper Lee. This book takes you from the beginning to the end. Her struggles as an unknown writer to one of fame and fortune are all covered.

Her life with Truman Capote is covered in depth. He was such a large impact and influence on her as a person, as well as a writer. She as well, was probably his only friend. I am going to have to read more of his works.

Even if you are not a fan of Harper Lee, this is a great read. I enjoyed so many aspects. Old Hollywood, how publishing worked and historical murders are all recreated.

Harper Lee became more real to me as I read this book. I understand more about her life and her struggles. And what made her such an outstanding character and such a talent.

I received this novel from the publisher and Netgalley for a honest review ( )
  fredreeca | Jun 8, 2016 |

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee – Charles Shields
4 stars

This was a very readable, well-organized biography. Charles Shields used available information to develop a clear picture of Harper Lee. I was very interested to learn about both her childhood friendship and adult working relationship with Truman Capote. Shields does a good job of charting her growth as a young writer in college through the publication of her book. Although he offered several possible explanations why she never published another novel, he was for the most part respectful of the woman’s privacy. As a reader, I felt I had enough information to draw my own conclusions
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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. ( )
  Cherylk | May 28, 2016 |
A wonderful, balanced biography of Nelle Harper Lee. I thought the author did a remarkable job of fairly portraying this reclusive author's life. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 28, 2016 |
i read this for a library book club. It is not something I would have picked on my own. It was okay and held my interest, but I don't see the point. Where are all of the stories the author heard? Yes, there are some but there is also too much mundane info about car rides and coffee at McDonalds. On a more positive note, it did get me to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. ( )
  becka11y2 | Jan 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
[Lee] didn't cooperate with this biography, which relies on early interviews and diligent research, but the glimpses we get are tantalizing.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Jul 16, 2006)
 
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Though justice be thy plea, consider this, That, in the course of justice, none of us Should see salvation...Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1
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To my mother, Jeanne, and father, Charley, with deepest gratitude
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805083197, Paperback)

"A fine, well-rounded portrait of Harper Lee. Mockingbird is good reading."—Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

To Kill a Mockingbird—the twentieth century's most widely read American novel—has sold thirty million copies and still sells a million yearly. Yet despite her book's perennial popularity, its creator, Harper Lee, has become a somewhat mysterious figure. Now, after years of research, Charles J. Shields brings to life the warmhearted, high-spirited, and occasionally hardheaded woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable characters—Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout.

At the center of Shields's evocative, lively book is the story of Lee's struggle to create her famous novel, but her colorful life contains many highlights—her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville, Alabama; the murder trial that made her beloved father's reputation and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Truman Capote's ally and research assistant to help report the story of In Cold Blood. Mockingbird—unique, highly entertaining, filled with humor and heart—is a wide-ranging, idiosyncratic portrait of a writer, her dream, and the place and people whom she made immortal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Examines the life of Harper Lee and tells the story of her inspiration and struggle to create her famous novel.

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