May 29, 2010

Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and To Kill A Mockingbird

My all-favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird and it is the only book I've ever read more than once [someday I hope to come back to The Stand and see it is as awesome as I remember when I was 16.] I didn't realize that the book's author, Harper Lee, had a card in last year's Topps American Heritage Heroes Edition [which is a lot like CSI: Reno Special Victims Unit] until recently and so I tracked down a copy from Checkoutmycards.com. The photo is from one of Lee's rare public appearances to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom [one of the lamest names of an award ever] in 2007.

2009 Topps American Heritage Heroes Edition #MOF-13 Harper Lee Medal of Freedom


Not too shabby for a person who published only one book. Which brings me to what I really want to write about, the idea that Truman Capote really wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. This idea is mainly fostered by the fact that Harper Lee didn't/hasn't published any works since TKAM was published in 1960. Plus the fact that her closest friend was a world famous author and she collaborated on his most famous work In Cold Blood. I've never really believed it and in personal letters Capote sent to relatives before TKAM was released he wrote glowingly about "Harper's book." I'm sure he edited and collaborated with her, as she did with him, but I don't doubt Harper Lee wrote it.

2 comments:

PAB said...

I had never heard/thought about the Capote ghost writing To Kill a Mockingbird theory. While it makes a bit of sense I like your idea much better.

I read Mockingbird the year after I finished graduate school. Today I'm torn between if Mockingbird is my favorite book of all time or if is the The Catcher in the Rye. I originally read The Catcher in the Rye when I was 16 and reread it when I was 22. I always thought Holden Caulfield's journey made a great story, but it blew my mind when I reread about them at 22.

Nice post

thehamiltonian said...

Truman Capote doesn't seem like the type to allow someone else to take credit for what he had done, especially when it turned out to be so successful. Also, it seems unlikely he would have written a book from Scout's perspective

TKAM also has a very different writing style than Capote's works.

Also - I highly recommend going back and reading The Stand again - make sure to go with the unabridged version.