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The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee (Paperback)
The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee by Marja Mills. This memoir is a fascinating look at two sisters living together in their later years. The sisters are Nell Harper Lee and Alice Finch Lee. Nell is in her late 70s and Alice in her early 90s and still practicing law. In 2014 at the publication of this book, Harper Lee, who had suffered a stroke, denied she had cooperated with Marja Mills. Her sister Alice later stated that Nell did not remember issuing a denial. Alice and Nell spent hours with the author and introduced her to many of their friends over an 18 month period in 2004-2005. The sisters are born storytellers and share many tales of their family and the environs of Monroeville. I was drawn to Mills’s portrayal of Alice, who is a trailblazer and the most knowledgeable person on the history of the county. Go Ask Alice has a different meaning in Monroeville.— From Joan's Picks
August 2014 Indie Next List
“At long last the reclusive author Harper Lee and her spirited sister, Alice, decided to share the story of their lives, choosing journalist Mills, who became their friend and neighbor in the process, as their biographer. Mills has a gift for listening with respect and retelling with careful observation. Her tale unfolds slowly, without drama, revealing the deep, rich lives of the sisters beneath the quiet surface of their small town routines. Immensely satisfying!”
— Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI
New York Times Bestseller
"A winning, nuanced portrait. . . . It seems unlikely we'll ever have a better record of a remarkable American life." --USA Today
"There are many reasons to be grateful for The Mockingbird Next Door....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.... 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.... The world Mills] depicts is sadly gone, but--lucky for us--she caught it just in time."--Washington Post To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. Yet for the last fifty years, the novel's celebrated author, Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has said almost nothing on the record. But in 2001, Nelle and her sister, Alice Finch Lee, opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation--and a wonderful friendship. Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle, to be a part of the Lees' life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, and how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives.
About the Author
MARJA MILLS is a former reporter and feature writer for the Chicago Tribune, where she was a member of the staff that won a Pulitzer Prize for a 2001 series about O'Hare Airport entitled "Gateway to Gridlock."