Wednesday, September 9, 2015

REVIEW--I Am Scout

Ok, where are all my To Kill a Mockingbird fans?  This is seriously one of my favorite classic books, which means I did a double take when I saw the YA biography of Harper Lee at my public library.  Harper Lee has been fairly mysterious over the last 50+ years--definitely not living like we would expect a famous author to be.  Little has been known about her until Charles J. Shields wrote an adult biography (Mockingbird) and now a YA version (I Am Scout).
  • Standalone book (YA version of the adult biography Mockingbird)
  • Nonfiction/biography
The Gist:
Despite the immense popularity of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, little is known about the author Harper Lee.  She has led a very private life in both Alabama and New York and declined interviews and speaking engagements consistently.  This biography reveals her story, covering her life from childhood in Alabama to adulthood in New York, including her inspiration for her novel, her friendship with author Truman Capote, and her inability to produce a second novel.
What I Loved:
  • So much research went into this book, and I felt like it was SO thorough!  There were interviews with so many of her classmates, neighbors, friends.  This book practically left no stone unturned. 
  • I'm so glad that the book didn't just focus on TKM--it focused on Capote and his book In Cold Blood, the Hollywood adaptation of the movie, etc.  Gave a full-rounded view of Lee's life and career.
  • Photos were included that really added to the reading experience.
  • I left the book with respect for Lee.  Not just respect for her as an author and as a "hidden" author, but a respect for why she chose to live in a solitary manner.
What I Didn't Love:
  • This book was written/published before Go Set a Watchman was either made public or released, so that was not even mentioned in the book.  And I'm so curious to know the truth behind the publication of that book.  Did Harper really want it on shelves or did she never want it published?  I'm so curious!
Four stars for me--an excellent read that kept me engaged (sometimes nonfiction doesn't!).  Excellent for all Harper Lee fans!

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