What better news can we get, on a snowy February day, than to find that Nelle (Harper) Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is going to have her second book published - at the age of 88.
Rather than endure the fame of a best selling author, Lee eventually returned to her small home town in Alabama. She never wrote another book - or so we were told. She lead a simple life until (according to reports) she suffered a stroke in 2007. Today, she lives in an assisted living facility.
Her older sister, Alice Lee, died three months ago at the age of 103. Alice was Harper's attorney and was the oldest practicing attorney in Alabama at the time of her retirement at age 100.
Their father was the inspiration of Atticus Finch, the heroic father of the book.
So, am I happy? I am one of millions of readers who loved To Kill a Mockingbird, both the book and the movie, which starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. So you would think I would be thrilled to have a sequel published. And it is a sequel, taking place 20 years after Mockingbird ended.
I am not thrilled. I am puzzled.
Lee never wrote a second book for her own private reasons. Fame took her by surprise. I respect that decision. Putting myself in her shoes, I don't know if I would have acted differently. I do not enjoy the spotlight- I might have run back into the shadows.
But, now, out of nowhere, after about 55 years - a sequel! Now?
The book about to be published was Lee's first work. It was lost, and then it was found, by her new lawyer. Or so the publisher says
So, did Harper (as she is known) Lee have a change of heart at the age of 88? Did the death of her sister convince her that life is too short? Or, was the manuscript truly lost until recently?
In July, we'll know if it is a worthy sequel.
Harper Lee does not plan any book tours. It is said aging has not been kind to her in recent years.
Do you plan to read the sequel?