January 10, 2012

I love spunk.

And Harper Lee has it in spades. Her sole novel remains my uncontested favorite book of all time.

untitled-9325-3original


Way back in the day, when a Richmond, VA school board in 1966 tried to ban To Kill a Mockingbird as "immoral literature", Lee showed her feistiness in a letter to the editor of the local paper:


“Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board's activities, and what I've heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read. Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is "immoral" has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.

I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice."


Her feisty-ness also manifested itself publicly about a decade back when she got irritated by various ebay/booksellers making a profit from her [freely given] signatures in copies of TKAM. So she had a posting placed on Ebay [right alongside all these profiteering "rare" book sellers' postings] that made known that she was willing to sign, free of cost, any To Kill a Mockingbird purchased from her local bookstore. It was an invitation I didn't need to hear twice. :-)

tkam


Btw, how lovely is that candid photo of Harper Lee? A little bit of trivia: Truman Capote is the photographer of that image. He and Nelle (Harper Lee) were childhood friends, and Capote was actually the inspiration for the character of Dill. This image only ran on the first couple print runs of the trade & book club editions of TKAM. My copy is from a book club edition that I found nearly 20 years ago on my mother-in-law's basement shelves, which I promptly begged to take home as my own. Thanks, Pat! - I still love it oodles!!

post signature

9 comments:

Michelle said...

I totally like her.
But she scares me a little bit, too. ;) ha!

keli [at] kidnapped by suburbia said...

this is AMAZING!!! i am sitting here in total awe. wow.

Tracy P. said...

What an awesome post! I have not read that book since high school (yeah, 1984 was still slightly futuristic when I read it too...sigh), but I remember how I loved it. Now I really need to go back and read it again.

Tracey said...

I LOVED this post! I am uber envious of your signed book! What a great story and what a great little bit of trivia to share. I learned something today. Thanks!
t

Stacey said...

Okay...I looooove To Kill A Mocking Bird.

And I love this story and that you have a signed copy!!!

Andrea said...

Such a great book! I've read it a few times and I feel like I'm reading it for the first time every single time. :)

Rebekah said...

I wonder if she still signs them and how to get my copy to her if she does.

Christina said...

This gave me goose bumps!
Here is a funny story. I was looking up the book on the library's online catalog and I couldn't figure out why I was getting no results. I double checked my search and found the reason...I was looking for How to Kill a Mockingbird. Very different kind of book. hee
What a wonderful story you had to share!

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. Fascinating. I DO love the picture of her. Really fantastic.