Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

In 1960, Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, her debut book and a contender for what could be the definitive American novel, detailing a young girl growing up in the Depression era South as her stoic attorney father defends a wrongfully accused black sharecropper. The book earned Lee a Pulitzer and instant fame and led to one of the greatest screen adaptations of all-time, and despite this glowing success, she began to refuse to speak to the press and has never published another novel since. Hey Boo features some great biographical detail, including stories of her Alabama childhood spent with playmate Truman Capote or a touching story involving a New York City couple who recognized her talent and put her up for a year to write the novel. However, as is the case with so many of these individual profiles, the film features too many "experts" making trite observations or telling you things you already know, in this case about the book and its times.