How I Won’t Remember Harper Lee

Nelle Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died in her sleep on February 19 in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. She was 89.

Lee is literary royalty.

“All I want to be,” she said a long time ago, “is the Jane Austen of South Alabama.”

It would seem that she far exceeded her goal.

I will cherish some memories about Lee and her work, but I won’t remember her for Go Set a Watchman, a lost-and-found manuscript from 1957 that was published as Lee’s second novel a year ago. I haven’t read Go Set a Watchman. I doubt that I will. It strikes me as an opportunistic publishing episode that should not have happened.

And yet, it’s not a blemish on Lee’s legacy. Not for me. Instead of reading “Watchman,” I’ll just read “Mockingbird” again. There will be many others who do the same.

The New York Times obituary and video.

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