Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields

This volume, billed as a “portrait” of Nelle Harper Lee, disappointed me a bit. Shields primarily writes young adult non-fiction, and although the jacket claims he was trying to write an adult book, I fear he has fallen a bit short.

The story is quite repetitive, and the tone definitely favors teen readers. In addition, I noticed a few grammatical and spelling errors. A couple of sentences really required me to pause and dissect them before proceeding.

Another problem with the book involves a chapter and another long section which focuses more on Truman Capote and the writing of In Cold Blood than on Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird. In fact, the best chapter deals with Lee’s experiences in New York surrounding the writing and publication of her novel. Unfortunately, the next chapter rather boringly surveys the critical reviews of TKAM.

All in all, I have to classify this as a mildly interesting, so-so read. 3 stars.

--Chiron, 2/26/09

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