To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of my favourite books and films. I will regularly ensconce myself on the coach when it comes on.
There are many reasons to be grateful for “The Mockingbird Next Door,”Marja Mills’s wonderful memoir of Harper Lee and her sister, and being enticed to re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird” is just one of them. Improbable as it seemed even to Mills when she first was granted access to the two fiercely private women in 2001, she has written an authorized, intimate portrait of the reclusive author and her older sister, Alice Finch Lee, who still practiced law (“sweetly, quietly, and lethally,” in her famous sister’s estimation) through her 90s in their home town of Monroeville, Ala.
Authorized, sympathetic and respectful it may be, but “The Mockingbird Next Door” is no sycophantic puff piece. It is a zesty account of two women living on their own terms yet always guided by the strong moral compass instilled in them by their father, attorney A.C. Lee, who was the model for Atticus Finch in his youngest daughter’s first and only novel.
It is also an atmospheric tale of changing small-town America; of an unlikely, intergenerational friendship between the young author and her elderly subjects; of journalistic integrity; and of grace and fortitude — including Mills’s battle with lupus. While her autoimmune disease slows her to a “glacial pace,” it serves her well in writing about “the old in a nation geared to the young.”
More here – The Washington Post
If you have a teenage son who is having trouble working out what a man should be sit them down in front of the tv and watch To Kill a Mockingbird and get them to pay attention to Gregory Pecks tremendous portrayal of Atticus Finch