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Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by…

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (2006)

by Charles J. Shields

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9473314,237 (3.86)80
To Kill a Mockingbird, the twentieth century's most widely read American novel, still sells a million copies yearly. Yet despite the book's perennial popularity, its creator remains a somewhat mysterious figure. Journalist 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--and who contributed to the success of her lifelong friend Truman Capote's masterpiece, In Cold Blood. At the center of the book is Lee's struggle to create her famous novel. But her life contains many other highlights: her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville, Alabama; the murder trial that made her father's reputation and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Capote's ally and research assistant on the story of the Clutter murders; the surrogate family she found in New York City.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
The author describes Lee's well-known insistence on privacy, which makes me ashamed to like this book and want to know more about her. Is it wrong... ? ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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
To my mother, Jeanne, and father, Charley, with deepest gratitude
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