So Harper Lee Is Probably Old And Doesn't Want Her Book Released

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 12.06% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So Harper Lee has a new book coming out – one she wrote way back in the 1950s.  The book she actually wrote before “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
And they’re probably publishing it because Harper Lee is a) so infamously reclusive that “We didn’t ask her” is actually something we’ve come to expect of Harper Lee-related topics, and b) so old and out-of-it that people can easily take advantage of her.
I’m sort of appalled, sort of not. This is, of course, colored by the fact that I want to read it.
But Lee’s famous reclusivity doesn’t seem to stem from fear of the quality of the novel – rather, that she hated the PR and intrusions that came from the novel.  Her name isn’t even Harper Lee – she just didn’t want anyone to mispronounce her name.  And she really hated dealing with the damned press.
So for me, this is a fucking hideous and soulless land grab – kind of like the way the Dr. Seuss estate started selling movie rights the instant that the good Doctor died.  It’s just that in this rare and bizarre set of circumstances, they didn’t have the good grace to wait for Ms. Lee to pass on so they could start looting the body.
But I dunno.  I suspect Ms. Lee is sufficiently in her dotage that she won’t get what she feared.  She’ll need to give no interviews, and she may not even be aware of what’s happening.  The most hideous thing about senility is that, in a way, it’s like being dead – I’ve watched too many relatives quietly slip away from this world long before they left it – and if what Harper feared most about her second novel was dealing with the embarrassment of having her personal life probed and dissected, well, she’ll be hauled into the limelight again but I suspect she won’t be troubled by it.  If she’s signing contracts like this out of some sort of befuddlement, chances are good she won’t be aware of the freshly-printed newspaper stories about her.
It’s distasteful.  It’s wretched.  And I loathe myself for still wanting to know what she wrote, even if I acknowledge it’s a lot like those nude Jennifer Lawrence pictures in that consent matters.
It’s not right.  And I wish I was a good enough person to assure you that I’d never read this book, but alas, at this point, I cannot.  I didn’t go look at J-Law, but on the other hand, man, Atticus Finch was vital to how I formed my morals.
Though I suspect Atticus would disapprove.  That’s something I have months to struggle with.


  1. researchtobedone
    Feb 4, 2015

    Sometimes situations like this I think pirating makes sense. If you don’t want money to go to the people doing the wrong thing, but you’re interested in the media, it’s not a bad compromise. Or pirating and, say, donating book-price to a cause she supports or similar. Some way to support the person who deserves it without supporting the shitbags taking advantage.

  2. Brandon
    Feb 4, 2015

    That was exactly what my partner suggested when I told her about it. “So, this is a book we will be pirating.”
    I don’t know if I will or not. I do know I won’t be buying it. You’re probably right, Ferrett. Atticus probably would disapprove and that’s a pretty compelling argument, imo.

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