New article sheds light on Harper Lee’s reclusiveness

Posted June 28, 2010 by 2 Comments

For the last few months we’ve been following the 50th anniversary events for Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The elderly author has been quite a recluse for the past few decades, but Sharon Churcher with MailOnline somehow scored an introduction.

The article contains some interesting biographical bits that don’t normally appear in run-of-the-mill write-ups:

In the novel, Scout lives in fear of a ‘malevolent phantom’, a psychologically disturbed neighbour called Boo Radley, who ultimately saves her life.

While it is clear that the character is in part based on a reclusive neighbour, in reality, it was Harper’s mother Frances who was the source of much terror and unhappiness.

Suffering from depression and violent mood swings, friends in the close-knit Alabama town say that Frances allegedly twice tried to drown her daughter in the bath. As a result, perhaps, the young Harper was regarded as a difficult and aggressive child who would think nothing of punching other children who annoyed her.

Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, will celebrate the book’s anniversary July 8-11. (Read all the details here.) You can read the rest of the article at MailOnline.

You can read our coverage here and here.

For the comments: Why is she so reclusive, and do you think we should be prying into her business? Would it be better to wait until after her death?


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2 responses to “New article sheds light on Harper Lee’s reclusiveness

  1. mrsderaps

    I say that we should leave her alone. What good does it do to seek out someone who has shied away from the spotlight for decades? I’m sure that there will be a manuscript or two discovered after she dies. Until then, let the poor woman be!

  2. Katie

    I actually read a biography about her called I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields and the biography talks about her life and how similar To Kill A Mockingbird. I definitely think that people want to have privacy then other have no right to invade it, because if the situation was reversed i think the people would be really POed that their privacy was invaded. And in the bio they said that she was reclusive because she couldn’t handle everyone knowing her and having the spot light on her. and after her death there will be TONS and TONS of manuscripts of that I’m sure.

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